On November 10th, Downing Street released David Cameron’s long awaited letter to European Council President Donald Tusk on Great Britain’s envisioned reforms to the European Union (EU). With a portion of the ruling Conservative party desiring an EU exit, as well as the rising prominence of the UK Independence Party, unity should not be taken for granted. The majority of the UK population still favors remaining in the EU, but it is nonetheless worth considering the ramifications of an EU exit. 

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Over eleven percent of jobs in the UK are connected to trade with the EU, and although these jobs would not all evaporate with an exit, they would be hit with increased costs and a likely reduction in employment. Another worthwhile consideration comes from the health benefits given to EU members living or traveling among member states. A citizen of the UK enjoys full healthcare services within any member state that they live in and vice versa. With over eight hundred thousand English citizens living in Spain, three times that of Spaniards living in England, this is an important benefit.

In addition, nearly half of all trade and foreign direct investment in the UK comes from the EU. Furthermore, practically all of the top Financial Times Stock Exchange firms have subsidiaries in the EU. The costs to UK citizens, businesses, and organizations would be significant, as would the intangible costs to the UK economy.