News story

Ten reasons why Northern Ireland is safer, stronger and better off in the EU

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Ben Wallace MP, today sets out why he thinks Northern Ireland is safer, stronger and better off in the EU


1. We get easy access to the Single Market

Over the last decade around 60% of all goods exported from Northern Ireland went to the EU. 87% of food and drink exports (£1.2bn) go to the EU.

2. You get a stronger economy

A recent Oxford Economics report predicted that NI’s economic output would be on average 2.8% lower than otherwise by 2030 - well below the 1.8% projection for the UK as a whole – if the UK left the EU. Manufacturing and construction would be hardest hit.

3. It’s better for business

Surveys of businesses consistently demonstrate strong support for remaining in the EU, including the 80% of CBI members who believe remaining in the EU would be best for their business. This view is shared by major NI employers like Bombardier and Moy Park.

4. It attracts inward investment

Being part of the EU and offering access to a Single Market of 500m people is a major selling point in attracting investment to Northern Ireland.

5. We don’t have to worry about cross border restrictions…

Having the UK and Ireland in the EU guarantees the free movement of people and goods across the border, boosting cross-border cooperation and trade.

6. …like customs controls…

Alternative models for a UK outside the EU suggest that the UK would be outside the ‘EU Customs Union’ – this would mean that trade with Ireland would once again be subject to customs controls.

7…or immigration controls

It is unclear if the Common Travel Area arrangements between the UK and Ireland could continue in the same way they did before both countries joined the EU.

8. We’re safer together

Membership of the EU allows NI law enforcement agencies to benefit from use of the EU watch-list and membership of Europol, which helps EU countries to fight serious crime and terrorism.

9. We benefit from the European Arrest Warrant

Since 2009, NI law enforcement agencies brought back 34 people to face justice and extradited 190 people accused or convicted of crime to other EU countries.

10. The EU supports Northern Ireland’s future

The EU has been supportive of the Northern Ireland political process with €469m of PEACE and related structural funding committed over 2014- 2020.

For a short summary of why Northern Ireland is safer, stronger and better off in the EU click NI Safer, Stronger and better off in EU (PDF, 184KB, 1 page)

Published 26 May 2016