Picking and choosing

John Wilkinson, (Letters, February 25), wants us to vote to leave the European Union, and suggests that we can then have all the bits he likes without the bits he doesn't.

I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work like that.

He talks of us following the example of Norway, which is outside the EU but can trade with it. But Norway shows clearly some of the ways we would suffer if we were to vote to leave.

Norway needs to be part of the Single Market, with all the benefits it brings.

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True, it has negotiated an agreement with the EU, but it doesn’t have any of the influence we have over the standards that have to be used by companies when they export.

It just has to accept the rules drawn up by the countries that are members.

No Norwegian ministers are there when Government ministers from the member states meet to make decisions.

There are no Norwegian Members of the European Parliament to represent their voters and influence laws. To add to the picture, they have to pay the EU about the same per head of population as we do.

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Our MEPs vote and influence the size of the EU budget and how it is spent – Norway doesn’t have any way of influencing it. Norway also has free movement of labour with the European Union – so the Norway model wouldn’t even do away with that.

Of course the EU is far from perfect. But it is clear that we have to co-operate with our nearest neighbours – the countries of the European Union. The best way to do that, and the way that gives us most influence, is from inside.

Britain is stronger, safer and better off in the European Union.

Neill Schofield

Sheffield, S5