The Bank of England has said Britain’s membership in the European Union has been beneficial and has helped to boost the nation’s economy. But it also warned against tendencies in Brussels to neglect non-euro members.
Speaking to an audience at Oxford University, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said Wednesday a fresh study compiled by the central bank showed the UK was possibly “the leading beneficiary” of the EU’s single market of 28 nations.
He added that being in the bloc had been one of the drivers of the Britain’s strong economic performance in the four decades since it first joined.
“Overall EU membership has increased the openness of the UK economy, facilitating dynamism, but also creating some monetary and financial stability challenges for the Bank of England to manage.”
To stay or not?
The upbeat assessment of the UK’s EU membership comes as the government plans to hold a referendum on EU membership before the end of 2017, with recent opinion polls displaying a split on the issue among the population.
Mark Carney made a point of saying that the bank’s study did not make an overall analysis of the pros and cons of Britain’s membership in the bloc, but rather looked at its implications for the lender itself.
Nevertheless, his message looks certain to be welcomed by supporters of the country staying in the EU.
Carney emphasized, though, that Britain kept being exposed to risks from continental Europe in the wake of the protracted eurozone debt crisis. The governor also indicated that Brussels needed to do more to protect the interests of non-eurozone nations, which he felt were sometimes neglected as the members of the single-currency area got increasingly integrated.
hg/pad (Reuters, FT)