The date has finally been set for the EU referendum in the UK, meaning we will get the chance to put the debate on whether or not Britain should remain a part of Europe. There has been debate surrounding being a part of Europe since we joined the European Community in 1973, but to me, there seems to be far more positive aspects than negative when it comes to remaining in Europe, and it remains unclear as to why we would leave.
- Travel – The EU allows us to work, study and travel within Europe easily. Millions of British people live abroad, and even more travel to European countries on holiday every year. More relevant to those studying at university, being in the EU has meant that more and more students are travelling to study abroad, full time or for just a year or term away. By leaving the EU, this opportunity would be gone.
- Trade – The EU allows for free trade between European countries, which means it is cheap and easy for us to import and export products and consumer goods. In 2011, 8 out of 10 of the top UK export countries were European, including Germany and France. In fact, the monetary value of exports made to Germany were almost triple that of the exports the UK made to China in 2011, proving the value of free trade within the EU.
- Influence – The UK is absolutely tiny in the grand scheme of things. Although we might like to think we have a big influence on things that happen across the world, this influence would likely be practically non-existent without the membership of the EU. Decisions made by the EU include us, and the EU gives us a platform to argue our views and beliefs. In leaving the EU, we are willingly giving up the opportunity for the world to hear what we have to say.
- Easing Conflict – countless treaties have been created with the help of the EU and UN that have helped ease conflict between European states.
- Crime – Extradition has been made much easier through being a member of the EU. The European Arrest Warrant makes the process of finding and bringing British criminals back to the UK to be sent to trial or punished much quicker, therefore keeping us safer.
Those saying that we should leave the EU have several arguments to support them, but to me these arguments seem clearly very flawed. It has been claimed that the UK would save a huge amount of money by not having to pay the membership fee required by the EU. However, the money we make from being in the EU outweighs this membership fee. Others highlight that immigration wouldn’t be an issue, because we would have control over our borders. But the downside to this would be that travelling, working and studying abroad would be much more difficult for British citizens. Europe won’t open it’s borders to us if we don’t return the favour. Immigration has always been a debated policy. Sadly, it’s quite often that people make the claim that ‘immigrants are stealing all of our jobs’ (if it’s not yours already, it can’t be stolen). Britain is a multicultural and diverse country, and to be willing to lose this and so much more seems silly.
Basically, the EU is our friend. Our generation has a lot of shit to fix when our time comes, and leaving the EU will do very little us sort it out. We’ll have less jobs, less influence, and an even shittier economy after losing the majority of countries we trade with. We have to remember that although we have known nothing other than being a part of Europe, it is something that helps our country on a daily basis, and something that we should highly value.