UK - EU Membership Benefits Will Be Lost

Arno Froese

Mike Matthews, the gritty managing director of a car parts company that once came close to collapse, has seen at first hand how the EU has tested Britain’s economy by unleashing greater competition.

A decade ago, Nifco UK was in deep trouble. It had lost control of costs in the highly competitive business to supply UK-based car plants that sell across Europe.

Rivals in Germany and elsewhere threatened to devour the company’s market for handles, plastic pipes in car engines and seatbelt covers. Nifco UK badly needed a turnaround plan.

The predicament was the same that thousands of British companies have confronted since the UK joined the European bloc in 1973, ending long years of preferential ties with the country’s former colonies.

In response, Nifco UK modernized, at its base near Stockton-on-Tees, in one of Britain’s most deprived regions. The group’s Japanese parent invested in personnel, plant and research. Today even the reception desk is automated and gleaming machinery looms over workers on the factory floor. The company has moved ahead of its German competitors, acquiring plants in Germany, Spain and Poland, and supplying 286 car plants worldwide.

To Mr. Matthews, access to the EU single market is vital. “If you’re an ambitious business, do you want a 1.6m [car] market or a 18m potential market?” he says. But many other executives complain that EU regulations have held them back.

For decades, British companies have struggled to respond to competition from elsewhere in the EU, with some household names disappearing. British Leyland, the once mighty car manufacturer, and ICI, the industrial conglomerate, are just two of the titans that have collapsed. But those that have survived have often emerged stronger—and with unimpeded access to a vast market of 500m people, the most valuable in the world.

Between 1958, when the European Economic Community (EEC) was set up, and Britain’s entry in 1973, gross domestic product per head rose 95 percent in these three countries compared with only 50 percent in Britain.

After becoming an EEC member, Britain slowly began to catch up. Gross domestic product per person has grown faster than Italy, Germany and France in the more than 40 years since. By 2013, Britain became more prosperous than the average of the three other large European economies for the first time since 1965.

Some Euroskeptics say Britain stands a better chance of growth if it looks beyond the sluggish economies of the EU. But this is a claim about the future, predicated on trading relationships that do not yet exist, rather than an analysis of the past.

For almost half a century, Britain has benefited from greater openness to world markets, which has fostered economic dynamism. Economists have demonstrated that the main cause of that change was membership of the EU, which brought with it gains from trade, foreign direct investment, competition and innovation.

Speaking in his factory, Nifco UK’s Mr. Matthews says that during his 28 years in the car parts business, Britain’s membership has made it dramatically easier to sell products across borders while pushing companies to become more productive. That is the EU effect that has transformed not just one car-parts manufacturer in Teesside but the UK economy as a whole.

Arno's commentary

The Brexit vote was a stunning surprise to most experts in the field of world economy and politics. In the 1960s and even 70s, Britain was considered the poorhouse of Europe. With its entrance into the EU, Britain has done remarkably well, when compared to other countries on the continent, as the article shows.

What is the meaning of Brexit Biblically speaking? Actually nothing, except to say that over half of the island once belonged to the Roman Empire. However, Britain was extremely successful in the field of colonization, conquering almost one-third of the planet. That, some experts insist, is the deep motive behind the Brexit vote.

But there are deeper reasons we believe, because world unity must be achieved. When looking at Europe—the world’s main continent—they literally conquered the entire world, established colonies, and divided the various countries, establishing borders according to their own benefit. But, that belongs to the past; history will not return. Thus, the European Union—the world’s stronghold of unity—will have to deal with one less obstacle. The UK’s assumption of superiority led to Brexit.

It is important to emphasize that the nations of the world, regardless of name, are governed by the god of this world (Satan); he, in turn, is working feverishly to produce his Antichrist and false prophet. How can that be achieved? Through peace, prosperity, and security. With Brexit, the leaders in Brussels will now have a more free hand in striving towards global unity, which will lead to the fulfillment of Revelation 13:3-4: “…and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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