Economic situation in Europe
From a few articles I've read on the economic mess in Europe is that Greece seems to be the contagious virus along with Spain and Italy. Though Greece being the largest of the contagion as they will likely be on EU benefits just to pay off their debt and their deficit for quite a long time. Especially as their economy is hardly growing with most of the population up in arms protesting about austerity measures being taken in Greece to curb deficit spending.
Referendum on the United Kingdom leaving the EU
A lot of people want to leave the EU in the UK. It is the number one source of immigration into the UK and it costs a hell of a lot of money to stay in the EU. However some would argue that it is entirely beneficial for the UK to stay within the EU considering trade from the UK to the EU accounts for around 50% of overall exports which obviously brings in large revenues for UK companies and then that supplies government with more tax money.
Although some people also argue that the UK should be like Switzerland or Norway, who are not apart of the European Union though still having free trade agreements with the EU. This is viewed by many as a more beneficial stance since these countries are not affected by laws passed by the EU in Brussels. – Obviously as they are not part of the EU. From this point of view, the UK can be considered as a more sovereign nation.
Recently the parliament in London voted on whether to issue a referendum on whether to stay in the European Union. I believe it was knocked down however the back bench MP's still agreed to discuss the issue of staying in the EU or not, calling for a referendum to possibly happen in 2013. Possibly after the economic mess has been sorted or discovered in its full depth of numerous issues.
The one thing I can agree on is that the UK should definitely not leave the EU now. Nor should it worry the EU market further by leaving and holding a referendum now. I believe it should happen at a later date as we need to be involved in making sure the EU doesn't sink any further into the economic hole. Why? As previously stated the UK exports 50% of its goods/products/services to the EU. If the EU goes down, the UK also goes down with the ship and the UK's economy won't grow and will slip back into recession, especially if that 50% market is wiped out. Although sometimes it is viewed by others I've spoken to that the UK isn't at-all part of the EU-ship, however I'm afraid we have a very large stake in Europe, to leave now would not be good and I don't think it would be good for the UK's future either.
However at a later date when the economic situation is sorted or is at a more stable level, there should be discussions on staying in the EU or leaving.
My personal belief is that we should stay in the EU. Although it costs the UK a lot of money to stay, it is worth the money considering the fact UK citizens get access to any country within the other 26 countries within the EU. People who work abroad would certainly find it an issue if they suddenly needed to be claiming working visas, making the process for the ordinary person harder. Bilateral trade agreements can be made by the EU towards competing with other larger countries such as China and the United States. Collectively the EU is the largest economic union in the world per GDP, meaning the collective decision is influential on the world stage, as the UK doesn't have singularly by itself a large enough economy to be able to represent its will on the economic stage.
As our economy is so dependent on the EU and vice versa, we need to be able to also make decisions from within the EU that reflect the will of our elected government. If we leave the EU we have no stake or say in what the EU can do or we can't vote against any measures taken within Europe which could possibly harm trade relations to and from the UK to Europe. Essentially, I don't believe it is worth the risk of leaving the EU because of these issues. What the UK does need to do, in partner with other EU countries is to try and reflect its will as the large economic forces that it is within the EU to reform the EU to UK standards; while this also means making concessions.