How will you vote in an In/Out EU Referendum?

EU HOmeIt can hardly have escaped your notice that an in/out referendum on Britain’s future in the EU may be just months away, so what are your thoughts on out country’s future?

Deal or No Deal

Currently, whatever deal David Cameron brings back is going to have issues which plays into the hand of the out campaign. Firstly it’ll be said that the deal isn’t be good enough no matter how good it is but the biggest issue is that no deal will be ratified until all EU nations agree on it and crucially that won’t happen until well after the one shot in/out referendum. That plays into the hands of the out campaign as they can legitimately say that we may walk away with nothing at the end of the day.

Migration has played into the hands of both camps, those who want to leave the EU claim that we need to close our borders and stop paying benefits for children that don’t even reside in the UK. Those in favour or remaining in the EU claim (somewhat bizarrely) that everyone camped in Calais will waltz through the tunnel with no border checks and end up camped in the UK shuttle terminals.

One might bear in mind that to board a plane to the UK you need your visa in order before you set out, there’s no reason this couldn’t happen with the channel tunnel. Plus of course migration has become emotional due to the influx to the EU from Syria and whilst of course it matters refugees are very different from economic migrants so the issue has received more publicity than perhaps otherwise justified.

Red Tape for small business

What’s more of interest for us is what happens with business. We’re not in the Euro so that’s not a concern, Sterling stands on it’s own regardless. Staying in the EU allows them to dictate a floor and ceiling for VAT and other financial measures.

What I particularly don’t like about the EU is the constant deluge of red tape which affects just about every online trader out there (especially when other countries often seem to ignore it while we run around like headless chickens trying to comply). Here are just three recent examples which may well have affected your business:

# Cookies

Remember the cookie diktat foisted upon us, you probably still visit website and have the annoyance of a pop up demanding you acknowledge that cookies are required to run the web. Thankfully the cookie crumbled.

# VAT MOSS

Then there was VAT MOSS which was supposed to make our lives easier. There was no VAT threshold so every business no matter how small was burdened with complying and facing investigation by far flung EU member states if they got it wrong. Then one day it was suddenly all change and HMRC decided that even though you were a business as far as income tax etc was concerned they didn’t really want to class you as a business for VAT MOSS as it was simply too much trouble.

# Online Disputes

More recently we hear from the EU that we have to link from our ecommerce operations to ODR and ADR online resolution services. No one of course seems quite clear where you should pop this information on eBay, let alone Amazon where you don’t even have control of the product detail page. It’s just more meaningless red tape to try and get our heads around.

So the EU isn’t that great with keeping red tape down, but then would that disappear if we left the EU? Of course not, sellers outside the EU already have to comply with many EU laws (at least they’re supposed to). It’s worth remembering the recent case of a UK seller raided by the FBI for price fixing. Not residing in the USA didn’t stop his collar getting felt in the UK. Similarly, if we left the EU and still wanted to sell to EU consumers, we’d have to toe the line with their red tape.

Which way will we vote?

Ultimately at the moment the outcome of the referendum looks like a coin toss. There are plenty of arguments for getting out and just as many equally valid arguments for staying in.

Which way are you leaning? Too much red tape and time to get out, or too reliant on fellow EU countries for business and can’t afford not to stay in? Let us know in comments below.