EU is a bunch of national politicians patronizing their voters first, by introducing unpopular laws and measures they couldn't possibly introduce directly.
This is also the reason why people hate the EU and Brussels. Because their local politicians keep using it as an excuse that "well, we tried, but, you know, Brussels said so." That is obviously easier tan to say that you are actualy in favour of a decision that you know will be not well received withing your voting system.
It is as if they aresaying that we should stop hitting ourselves while they hold our arm and blame Brussels when they ae caught.
So no The EU is not the only option, but as of now it is a whole lot better than without it. Competing as separate enteties, none of them means anything.
Football analogy. You can have 11 outstanding players, but they are nothing if they are all individuals and you can play them one by one. Even an average team will win. And that would mean we hand ourselves over to either the US or the Russians and I am not sure wich is worse in the long term.