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The Concrete Times Summer 2015

The CONCRETE Times • SUMMER 15 3 The CONCRETE Times EDITOR Steven Callaghan Tel: 020 3086 9296 Ext 4 steven@marwoodevents.com ADVERTISEMENT MANAGER Anthony Kane Tel: 020 3086 9296 Ext 9 anthony@marwoodevents.com SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER Marianne Callaghan Tel: 020 3086 9296 Ext 1 marianne@marwoodevents.com The CONCRETE TIMES is published digitally with 1 special print version distributed only at The UK CONCRETE Show at the NEC, Birmingham, each February . IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER The responsibility for the content provided in the articles published in The Concrete Times and the opinions expressed are exclusively those of the author(s) concerned. Neither the publisher, Marwood Events Ltd, nor the Editor, is responsible for errors in the contents or any consequences arising from the use of information contained in it. ©Marwood Events 2015 FROM THE EDITOR What will become of the European project over the next 2 years? When David Cameron first announced the in/out referendum, I was certain the vote would be to stay in, but now I’m not so sure. I’m a Europhile. I’ve spent more than 2/3 of my life on the continent, my wife is from over the water and I speak several European languages. So the Government ought to be able to count of my vote to remain in the EU - and yet............ I wasn’t old enough to vote in the first ‘Common Market’ referendum but I remember it - it seemed to make sense to join a trading block with ambitions to rival the USA in size. In 1973, the 9 members of the then EEC, accounted for 38% of world GDP. Today, the 28 members of the now EU account for just 26 per cent, and that figure is diminishing fast with the economy of the Commonwealth having overtaken that of the Eurozone in 2013, and set to overtake that of the EU as a whole by 2018. The IMF states that every region of the world except one, saw meaningful growth in 2014: Europe, alone, is sclerotic. According to the ONS, the EU took 65 per cent of UK exports in 2006, but only 45 per cent in 2014. Any prudent business man would be looking to develop new markets in the face of such figures yet Britain cannot sign a bilateral free trade agreement with, say, Australia, nor with any other non-EU state. That power was ceded to Brussels on 1 January 1973. But if we leave the EU and become an EFTA member, we’ll lose access to the single market, say the ‘Yes’ lobby, yet EFTA members Norway and Sweden, sell more proportionately than Britain does to the EU - 2.5 times and 4.5 times respectively. But what about our say in setting EU standards? We’ll lose that if we choose Brexit, say the ‘Yes” lobby, but today’s top tables are global. EU rules on, say, what assets banks must hold, or food safety, or car components, are very often a regional implementation of worldwide standards, negotiated, incidentally, with Norway and Switzerland sitting independently around the table with Britain represented by the European Commission. Does the EU now need us more than we need them? Steven Callaghan, Editor Tel: 020 3086 9296 Ext 4 steven@marwoodevents.com


The Concrete Times Summer 2015
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