The Joe Public Guide Series


The Joe Public Guide to the EU


Introduction                   Contents


As a member of Joe Public, I had a reasonable interest in the EU, but fully accepted that my knowledge was both scant and fragmented.

Gaining useful objective information from politicians and political commentators seemed to be almost impossible because of their often obvious bias.

However, we the voting public need to improve our knowledge-base because this subject is extremely important to our lives, and because we will be asked to vote in a referendum on the subject before 2018.

In order to help myself, and others who are similarly placed, I have produced this simple guide. It is clearly aimed at “the man in the street” who would like to know more, but wants to avoid the academic approach and being force fed with the mantras that are pedalled by politicians with vested interests. Some may comment that even a simple guide is relatively complex.

I hugely enjoy visiting mainland Europe and would describe myself as a Europhile. I marvel at its diversity, the abundance of its culture, the variety of its languages and the retained national characteristics, despite the close proximity of the countries. I find it fascinating that countries that have been living “shoulder to shoulder” for hundreds of years, still create populations that are so obviously different, rather than being homogenised.

When it comes to The European Union (EU) I would describe myself as an EU-sceptic, not because I am against Europe, because I have my doubts as to how our relationship with it should be defined.

I look forward to an honest and open debate on this subject in the months leading up to the referendum.

The format for this book is that each chapter may have 2 sections. The 1st section will include mostly non controversial facts. The 2nd section, if included, will be for comments and opinions that may either be in support of the facts or critical of them. In other words, facts and opinion are reasonably clearly divided.

Because the EU project is massively complicated, and possibly beyond the easy comprehension of many of Joe Public, I have been inspired by the Albert Einstein quote: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler”.