The company has moved ahead of its German competitors, acquiring plants in Germany, Spain and Poland, and supplying 286 car plants worldwide. To Mr Matthews, access to the EU single market is vital. Mr Macmillan, a weary-looking father figure, at last held out his hand yesterday and offered to try to lead the Commons and the country into Europe , if he can find the way.
The homecoming was nonetheless a unique and historic triumph for a prime minister who had secured the backing of the country over the heads of a majority in his own party.
Instead, the central issue is how EU membership has changed the shape of the British economy — its competitiveness and openness to other markets — through the impact on thousands of companies such as Nifco.
There are three directives they have to prove before the European Council will open negotiations. Apart from a net benefit to public finances of importing workers, free movement has not obviously increased British prosperity.
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The problems start here. Today 10 countries join the European Union. That is the EU effect that has transformed not just one car-parts manufacturer in Teesside but the UK economy as a whole.
Fraying union. During the next 40 years, the UK economy outperformed those two countries by 23 per cent.
Daniel Vernazza of UniCredit has shown that UK trade with EU partners grew faster after 1973 than it did with the remaining countries in the European Free Trade Association, the grouping to which Britain previously belonged. For almost half a century, Britain has benefited from greater openness to world markets, which has fostered economic dynamism.
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British Leyland, the once mighty car manufacturer, and ICI, the industrial conglomerate, are just two of the titans that have collapsed. Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. They have drafted 400 amendments and produced detailed briefing notes on each of these.
After becoming an EEC member, Britain slowly began to catch up. Patrick Minford, long one of the most outspoken economists backing Brexit, said in late February that EU membership had benefited the British economy by freeing trade.
In the third part of a series on the implications of Brexit , the Financial Times looks at how the EU has changed the British economy. But this is a claim about the future, predicated on trading relationships that do not yet exist, rather than an analysis of the past. Britain joined what was then the European Economic Community in 1973 as the sick man of Europe.
Above all we should avoid creating a new, semi-permanent rift in British society, between pro and anti Europeans.