Every year since UK has been in the Common Market we have paid more into the organisation than we have taken out. Some years this has been in a ration of 2:1. Mrs Thatcher clawed some of this back but Mr. Blair partially relinquished this rebate.
When the Euro was created we, wisely, declined the invitation to join. Events recently have demonstrated the great weakness of this arrangement: it has always been run by politicians rather than economists. When it was established the applicants were set financial and economic convergence criteria to achieve in order to join. Italy did not meet the criteria but as a founding member of the EU it was politically unthinkable to exclude it. France then insisted that Greece should be admitted as it was philosophically unthinkable for a European organisation to exclude the country of Socrates. A single currency area by definition must behave as a single economic area: funds must flow from the strong to the weak area within the zone. If not, the individual countries remain individuals. Germany has a strong economy: if it left the Eruo its currency would strengthen significantly reducing its economic competitiveness. so why is it reluctant to pay the debts of its weaker members?
I have always been a strong supporter of a well-planned and executed customs union. However, when we were given the opportunity to vote in a referendum 35 years ago I read through the Treaty of Rome and concluded that I could not agree with the political implications of joining what was then called the Common Market but which has morphed through the European Economic Community to the European Union. Next stop is United States of Europe.
During our recent visit to Lille I was reminded of how Chales de Gaule kept the UK out of the organisation and the newspaper headlines
Charles de Gaule was born in Lille