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The EU’s Effect on the UK’s Place in the World


The EU’s Effect on the UK’s Place in the World reveals the extent of the EU’s influence over the UK’s foreign and development policies. Based on The Freedom Association’s submissions to the Government’s Balance of Competences Review, Rory Broomfield shows that the EU has misspent taxpayers money on a number of projects worldwide, effected the UK’s representation abroad and has potentially put national security at risk.

However, this publication also shows how the EU has given support to a number of regimes around the world that are undemocratic and seek to suppress their peoples. Most startling are the revelations that the EU gave over £1 billion to the Assad regime in Syria since 2000, along with financial support to President Lukashenka’s regime in Belarus.  Lukashenka is often described as “the last dictator in Europe” and it is worrying that, since 2007, the EU has given his government over £100 million in funds.

This shows that EU programmes such as the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (MEDA) and the European Investment Bank loans that involved Syria have not been able to prevent the crisis, and that the UK remains complicit in this action. Interestingly, however, the research indicates that some of the programmes did not receive financial support from the UK. This means questions need to be asked over how much influence the UK has within the EU if projects and programmes go to countries that the United Kingdom is unwilling to finance. Current circumstances also indicate that, despite the finance given through the EU, individual nations such as the UK need to decide whether action is appropriate in Syria.

This publication, produced by The Hampden Trust, also highlights how dependent the UK has become on the EU Commission for aid projects. 42% of the UK’s aid budget goes on multilateral aid and, out of that £3.26 billion, 37% goes to the EU. Indeed, from 2007 to 2012, the EU has received £6 billion from the UK in multilateral assistance, making it the largest recipient from that part of the budget during this time.

With extra finance, the EU has provided funding for folk bands in the Bulgaria, water parks in Morocco and given £20 million to Iceland to encourage EU membership, something the country does not want. This is not to mention the other projects such as the EU operation in Kosovo that came under serious criticism from the EU’s own Court of Auditors.


In essence this study shows that, with the increasing power and influence, the EU has been able to increasingly undermine UK foreign and development policy goals in certain areas. It states that the UK should not fear freeing itself from this structure and leading by example in pursuit of best practice in its other aid giving ventures.

For more on this story, please contact Rory Broomfield on rory@tfa.net or 07557772540.


About the Author: Rory Broomfield is a Deputy Director of The Freedom Association (TFA). Author of “Membership of the EU: there are alternatives”, Rory has worked for a number of Conservative Members of Parliament and small businesses. He is also a former Director and Board Member of the United Nations Association in the UK (UNA-UK).

About the Publication: Produced by The Hampden Trust in association with The Freedom Association, this publication is based on The Freedom Association’s submission to the UK Government’s Balance of Competences Review.

Better Off Out is a campaign run by The Freedom Association, a non-partisan pressure group dedicated to principles of freedom and national sovereignty. To keep up to date with the campaign, do follow us on Twitter @BetterOffOut.