3 intelligent things to say about... the EU | Commercial awareness on The Gateway

3 intelligent things to say about... the EU

The key points to make if you're trying to impress recruiters

If you're going to a business-related interview, careers event or networking opportunity in the next few weeks, what's happening with the relationship between Britain and the EU could be a great thing to bring up in conversation - it's always an interesting political, economic, business and social issue to look at, and one that's particularly high on the agenda at the moment.

Making sure that you can summarise some overall themes, understand what they mean in real world terms, and express your own opinions on this important issue is what will really impress an interviewer, recruiter or new contact.

To help you, here is a summary of three aspects of what's going on with the Britain and the EU at the moment that stand out to us - the relevant facts, our thoughts on them, and some pointers to help you form your own views.

"TTIP is what we should be talking about."

What's arguably a much bigger deal for the UK right now than "Brexit" or a giant bill to pay is TTIP - the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

TTIP is a proposed new free trade agreement between the EU and the US currently being negotiated and set to be agreed this year or in 2015. Supporters, currently including all major Westminster parties other than the Greens, argue that it will boost GDP and employment by removing some tariffs and unnecessary regulation. Opponents, including some NGOs and environmental groups, argue that it will compromise public safety and give too much power to corporates.

Add your own opinions

  • The EU claims that no compromise will be made on EU consumer, health or environmental protection standards, but recently pointed out that the US sometimes looks to litigation for public protection where the EU looks to regulation - which do you think is a better approach and do you think it would be right for the EU to adapt to the US way of doing things?
  • The TTIP negotiations are confidential to a certain extent - is this a sensible commercial precaution or a breach of democratic principles?

"Our economy is bound up with the US as well as with Europe - which is actually a good reason to stay in the EU."

The US is a very important economic partner to the UK - 10.5 per cent of UK exports go to the American market (CIA). However, the significance of the American economy to the British one could, somewhat paradoxically, be a good reason for keeping the UK in the EU. Britain as part of the EU is in a much stronger strategic position opposite the US in TTIP and other commercial negotiations than it would be on its own.

In addition, the Obama administration has made it clear that it would like to see Britain stay in the EU to enable the US to maintain a strong relationship with the EU and in the interests of global stability.

Add your own opinions

  • To what extent should American preferences influence political decisions in Britain?
  • Should the EU become a United States of Europe?

"Bigger on big things, and smaller on small things."

British people have consistently had less confidence in the EU over the years than the inhabitants of other EU countries - in 2013, the approval rating for what its leaders were doing was at 29 per cent, less than half top-ranked Luxembourg's 67 per cent and higher only than ratings in Cyprus, Greece and Spain, all countries that have suffered huge economic turmoil (Gallup).

It's often said that the EU must do more to win over the hearts and minds of the British people - a recent suggestion from recently appointed British EU commissioner Lord Hill is that the EU should "be bigger and more ambitious on big things, and smaller and more modest on small things."

Add your own opinions

  • Do you agree with Lord Hill?
  • Why do you think approval of the EU in Britain has been consistently lower over the years than in other European countries?
  • Why do you think Luxembourg's approval rate is so high?

Image: openDemocracy (https://www.flickr.com/photos/opendemocracy/)

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