September 22, 2011
At a debate on EU membership organised by the Spectator on 20 September (read a report here), leading eurosceptic Daniel Hannan MEP compared the UK unfavourably with Switzerland. The Swiss experience of non-membership of the EU, he said, has been more beneficial than the UK experience of membership. We are poorer, both in economic terms and in the health of our democratic life.
That is what the MEP says: what about the facts?
Switzerland is undeniably richer than the UK (GDP per capita currently around $63,000 as opposed to $35,000) but is that because of the EU? The chart below shows the ratio of Swiss per capita GDP to that of the UK, since 1960 (the blue line) (data from the World Bank).
Ratios of GDP per capita (data from the World Bank)
Switzerland is richer now, but it was richer then, too. The gap between the two has widened, notably in the mid-1970s, […]Author :