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on 1 August 2013
This begins by listing the many ills of the EU almost like a UKIP manifesto. Then it starts to unpick the options and problems of Britain leaving the EU in considerable detail. Overall a pretty balanced and well researched view. It certainly provides voters with the crucial questions to ask of both sides in any referendum. This is such a big subject that no single work can be comprehensive but this focuses well on important issues.
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This book by David Charter is an excellent analysis of the likely consequences if Britain left the EU. He agrees that no one really knows what those consequences would be but despite this he examines several that could follow our withdrawal.

Charter is the Times correspondent in Berlin. Before that he was doing the same job in Brussels for 5 years. Hence his views are worth studying.

The EU is a very contentious issue and recently the gulf between those who are pro and those who are anti has grown. For the former the EU has brought peace to Europe after decades of war. It has spread prosperity-the current crisis is, they argue only a short-term blip. They argue that Britain could not possibly survive outside the EU.
The antis regard the EU as an inefficient and monstrously bureaucratic organisation that sqanders money, and seriously undermines the sovereignty of member states. Membership they say has brought Britain very few benefits.

The Eurozone crisis has inflamed opinions on both sides. It is fair to say that the general public are, understandably, ignorant of the complexities involved. They are also increasingly suspicious of the blatant propaganda being poured out by both groups.

Charter's book is by far the best and most lucid analysis of the issues involved.
He sets out, and on the whole succeeds, to explain how our relationship with the EU began, sketching how in the beginning it (the EEC) was an economic union. He goes on to show how that union has developed into an organisation that embraces free trade,social, monetary,environmental, defence and legal matters. He demonstrates that we have in fact gained from membership in terms of a larger market, cheap air travel,and inward investment, although he admits it is difficult to quantify some of these.

The author ends by examining a number of the likely results of our withdrawal from the EU. They include: a strenghtening of our ties with the Commonwealth resulting in the import of cheap agricultural produce, and membership of the North American Free Trade Agreement. He also looks at the possibility of a two-speed Europe, the cecond tier of which would comprise those menbers who want to gain from free trade without having to be involved in those policies that don't appeal.

Charter, like many othe writers on the EU, admits any alternative to the present arrangement would be a leap in the dark. He makes a most important point when he says whatever alternative we chose we would still be dependent on the friendship of our European neighbours, and no longer can this be taken for granted. He quotes the Polish Foreign Minister as saying:'Please don't expect us to help you wreck or paralyse the EU'.

When a referendum on membership is held it will be a pointless exercise if voters are not eqipped with the basic knowledge to make an informed decision. The EU is a very complex organisation. Many undergraduates, for example, find it difficult to understand its functions and various bodies.
David Charter's lucid,well-researched and objective (a rarity) book should therefore be required reading for all who wish to make a decision in due course based on facts rather than emotion and highly selctive information.
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on 21 July 2013
A balanced and thought provoking book. It gives the historical facts and figures behind our current position within the EU, without bias or journalistic frenzy.
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on 29 June 2013
If we really get a referendum I want to know the facts' not just power hungry politician's version of them. Not only immensly informative this book is also very readable, Now at the half way point I'm really enjoying it even though it is clear any decision on how to vote will be exceedingly difficult.
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on 15 May 2013
As a teacher of A Level Government & Politics I have avoided teaching units on the EU because of the complexity of the issues. David Charter's book may change this. Should I teach this topic in the future then 'Au Revoir Europe' will be at the top of the reading list.
It is everything an academic book should be - objective and empirical yet accessible to all.
I would recommend anybody to read this book as the next election approaches when Europe will surely be one of the hot topics.
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on 28 September 2013
This should be compulsory reading material for everyone who is to vote on the European question. I blew hot and cold on Europe but came to realise that if we leave it will not be the end of the world...There is so much wrong and a lot right with the Union.....I would prefer to stay as a trading partner and this book helped me to reach this decision. It will take a long time to sort out and no matter how the British people vote it will be years before any change can come about.
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on 23 August 2013
So far an enjoyable and informative read, I feel the author knows what he is writing about, and although I feel we should stay it is interesting to read about the inside story, we could change our minds
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on 23 October 2014
Not easy reading as it jumps about a bit and could do with a bit more structure. Tends to repeat quite a lot too. The overall content is very interesting and all 'facts' are backed up with references that you can research for yourself should you wish; which gives it added credibility.
Defintely worth reading if the promised referendum comes to pass....
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on 25 August 2014
A well rehearsed, evenly balanced examination of the real issues to be addressed in any contemplation of leaving the EU.
Understand the history of the EU and what the UK has already committed to.
You need to read this entertaining and informative book BEFORE voting in any referendum.
High recommended!
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on 16 July 2013
A thorough examination of the history and possible future of UK's relationship with the EU and the world. It goes on a bit and seems well researched, though could have done with more concise summaries. Everyone should read it but won't.

Whatever happens, whichever way we go, it don't look good.
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