Here is a fantastic thread by Edwin Hayward made of 91 examples of what Brexit took from us all after that awful referendum 4 years ago. If only it could fit on the side of a big red bus.
First published in March 2020.
Its prize: we left the EU.
But the truth is, we all lost. And we can’t just “get over it”.
Here are 91 examples of what Brexit took from us all... and what we could gain if we joined the EU again.
Full unfettered access to the largest trading bloc in the world.
What trading outside the Single Market looks like. / LSE Blog
Free trade deals with dozens of countries around the world, including Japan, Canada and South Korea.
Frictionless borders allowing for just-in-time manufacturing, supporting millions of jobs in the auto industry, aerospace, etc.
Wide-open border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, with no customs or other checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Active support for the Good Friday Agreement and Irish peace process (Northern Ireland benefitted from PEACE funding of over 1.5 billion euros between 1995 and 2020)
Northern Ireland fears Brexit loss of EU peacemaking and cash. / Reuters
Beginning after World War Two, the longest unbroken period of peace on the European continent for over a thousand years, aside from civil wars. Friends tend not to fight friends. (This is, after all, a core impulse behind the creation of the EU in the first place!)
Freedom for British citizens to travel, work, study and retire anywhere in the EU.
Freedom for EU citizens to travel, work, study and retire in the UK.
Scientific and academic collaboration, including access to grants, and knowledge pooling.
Participation in Horizon 2020 and successor programmes (Horizon 2020 is the world’s largest multinational research programme, and has previously provided funding and assistance for over 10,000 collaborative research projects in the UK.)
Collaborative space exploration.
Participation in the Galileo GPS satellite cluster, including its high quality military signal.
UK’s Galileo rival delayed amid wrangling and rising costs. / Financial Times
Driving licenses valid all over the EU. No need for international driving permits.
Car insurance valid all over the EU.
Pet passports that make travelling with pets easy and smooth.
Simplified system of fixed compensation for flight delays and cancellations thanks to EU Air Passenger Rights.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) giving access to healthcare in the the EU for free, or at reduced cost. It allows pharmacy prescriptions to be purchased at the price someone living in that country pays.
EU-wide mobile roaming (data, calls and texts) at home prices.
Portable streaming services, allowing access to existing Netflix and other streaming accounts all across the EU.
Erasmus student exchange programme involving more than 4,000 universities in 31 countries. In the past, over 15,000 UK students have participated per year.
Enhanced consumer protection, including protections for cross-border shopping.
Simplified VAT reverse charge mechanism for those selling across the EU.
Cross-border tax collaboration to hold firms like Amazon and Facebook to account more than any single country can.
Training courses for the unemployed, funded by the European Social Fund.
Disaster relief funding, such as the 60 million euros we received for flood relief in 2017.
EU will release 60 million euros to help Britain repair 2015-16 flood damage. / Reuters
Access to a court of last resort (the ECJ) that enables citizens to hold their governments to account.
Enhanced environmental protections.
REACH regulations and the EU Chemicals Agency, which combine to improve human, animal and environmental safety around chemicals.
Safer medicines thanks to the pan-EU testing regime.
Security cooperation, and sharing of crime and terrorist databases.
Participation in the European Arrest Warrant programme that allows for the speedy capture and extradition of wanted criminals sheltering in other EU countries.
Britain to withdraw from European Arrest Warrant system for extraditing foreign criminals and wanted suspects like Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. / Daily Mail
Participation in the EURATOM programme to ensure the availability of vital medical isotopes, including very short half-life radiologicals.
Support for rural areas (which have long been ignored by successive UK governments).
Regulations governing better food labelling, including from April 2020 the requirement to identify the country of origin of the primary ingredient in processed food, as well as the country of manufacture of the finished product.
EU funding to support the British film industry, theatre and music.
Free movement for musicians and their instruments, bands and their equipment, artists and their materials etc., enabling a flourishing European culture scene.
Participation in the European Capital of Culture programme, which has previously boosted cities such as Glasgow and Liverpool.
Service providers (e.g. freelance translators) can offer their services to clients all over the EU on the same basis as they can to UK clients.
EU citizenship (it is a real thing, separate from and additional to UK citizenship – look it up!)
No VAT or duty payable when goods from the EU are imported (great for online shopping as there are no unpleasant surprises in the form of extra charges).
Substantial venture capital funding, and the provision of startup loans.
Protection for minority languages, such as Welsh, enshrined in law.
Mutual recognition of academic and many professional qualifications.
Legal protection for foods of geographic origin, e.g. Melton Mowbray pork pies, ensuring that copycat products from other regions cannot be passed off as the real thing.
The elimination of surcharges on credit and debit card transactions (EU law made these illegal).
EU structural funding (e.g. the £2 billion Liverpool has received in the past) with a requirement for matched private funding to boost its effectiveness further.
So what has the European Union ever done for Merseyside? / Liverpool Echo
Support and encouragement for democracy in post-communist countries.
Guaranteed use of EU queues at ports and airports, including e-gates where available.
A bigger, stronger presence on the world stage when facing off economic giants such as the USA and China.
Products made or grown in the UK can be sold in 31 countries without type approval, customs duties, phytosanitary certificates or other costly red tape.
Strong, legally enforced food hygiene standards including prohibitions on chlorinated chicken and GM crops.
Objective 1 funding for deprived areas and regions.
Financial passporting, enabling firms in the City of London to provide services to clients all over the EU.
Legally enforced 14 day cooling-off period on new timeshare agreements.
Access to university education in other EU countries at the same rates their home students pay (many EU countries still offer free education)
Consular protection in countries outside of the EU from any EU embassy or consulate, if there is no UK embassy or consulate there.
Consular protection. / European Commission
Secure baseline of worker protections, including restrictions on maximum hours worked, maternity leave etc. (We are free to improve on these in domestic UK law any time we like – as indeed we already do in many instances – because they are a floor, not a ceiling.)
Protection against discriminatory treatment compared to local staff when working in other EU countries.
Minimum of 4 weeks of paid leave a year (introduced by EU in 1993, taken up by UK in 1998, and later extended to 28 days in 2009).
Right to land fish in EU ports (the EU buys more than half of all fish caught by UK fishermen).
Access to a willing seasonal workforce to pick our fruit and vegetables.
Ensure a vital supply of medicines (we import 37 million packs a month from the EU).
Minimum 2 year guarantee on all consumer products, no matter which channel you bought them through (e.g. in a shop, online or via a catalogue).
A major say in the running of the EU, with MEPs representating the UK in the European Parliament, judges on the ECJ panel, etc.
A say in the setting of the EU budget and on determining the EU’s priorities and focus.
More influence on environmental policy, since we would have a hand in shaping laws that governed 28 countries (pollution and carbon emissions don’t stop neatly at borders).
Cleaner air backed by the EU Air Quality Directive (in the past, the UK Government has been successfully taken to court for failing to meet its obligations).
Strong pan-EU intellectual property protection, including participation in the upcoming unified patent system.
Some of the highest toy safety standards in the world.
Protection of 500 bird species under legislation dating back to 1979 and enhanced in 2009.
Pan-EU regulators (food, chemicals etc.) that simplify testing regimes and could save us money by doing away with the need to duplicate their function at the local UK level.
A powerful presence on the world stage thanks to 28 EU countries acting in unison.
Right to vote (and stand as a candidate) in local and European elections in the EU country you are living in, under the same conditions as local candidates.
Electoral rights. / European Commission
Right to petition the European Parliament, either singly or jointly with others, on any matter within the EU’s fields of activity. This right is also extended to companies headquartered in the EU as well as individuals.
Right to communicate with EU institutions in any one of the 24 official languages of the EU.
Support for people with disabilities, including the European Accessibility Act (mandating the accessibility requirements of various products and services) and the EU parking card.
Right to buy services (e.g. hotel bookings, car rentals) online from anywhere in the EU at the same price local buyers would pay.
Right to bring home anything you buy in another EU country without making a customs declaration, so long as it is for your own personal use.
Right to cancel and return the order of any product bought outside of a shop (e.g. online or by telephone) within 14 days, for any reason. (Exceptions exist, such as personalised goods or sealed packages that you have broken the seal on.)
Strong data protection laws, such as GDPR, that protect personal data maintained in any format (online, on paper, etc.) These include the right to withdraw consent for the processing of your data, and the right to object to receiving direct marketing.
The right to know what personal data a company or organisation is holding about you, within a month of requesting it. The information should be provided free of charge, and in an accessible format.
The right to be forgotten, i.e. to get organisations to delete the personal data they have stored on you.
Everything you need to know about the “Right to be forgotten”. / GDPR.EU
Banks must charge you the same for payments in euro across the EU as they do for the equivalent national transactions.
Insurance firms can sell their products anywhere in the EU, without having to be established in each EU country.
Enhanced human rights protection (especially against the State) through the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
Right to register and maintain .eu domain names.
A single broadcasting licence valid in the whole of the EU, removing the need for TV networks to obtain licences country by country.
Regulation and reporting of CO2 emissions in new vans and lorries, with a monitoring and enforcement system that includes fines for manufacturers that fail to meet their targets.
Participation in the EU emissions trading scheme, which establishes total caps on emissions while allowing individual companies to buy and sell their emission allowances to meet their changing requirements.
Participation in the EU pandemic Early Warning and Response System (EWRS) that ties together governments and key agencies to combat cross-border health threats.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it gives you some idea of everything we have sacrificed to Brexit.
On your way out, can I please encourage you to consider my book “Slaying Brexit Unicorns”? It busts two dozen Brexit myths and takes an uncompromising look at no deal, and the reality of trade on WTO terms.
Tweets posted on 4 March 2020 by @uk_domain_names.