First and foremost I would, if asked to describe my identity, say that I am a European citizen. And that is the simple reason why I consider the potential of the UK leaving the EU such a significant threat on a personal level. Some people say that Europe is not the EU. In geographical terms that is true. But to me the two are intrinsically entwined: all that is so wonderful about being a European citizen is bound up with the achievements of the EU.
And achievements there are many. Most importantly: the EU – and the organisational structures before it – has secured peace in Europe for many decades. Looking at the history of Europe, this is an all the more remarkable feat, rightly recognized a few years ago with Nobel Peace Prize. Yes, Nato played its role. I do recognize that. But sorry, no: an organisation set up to prevent war by preparing for one is not an agency of peace.
A few years ago I had a discussion about the EU with my great-grandmother. She told me how pleased she was for me and the younger generation in light of how things had developed in Europe. For her the EU was a marvelous institution, a community of nations that had secured unity and peace. That is why she said then what I say now: that the EU is always worth fighting. Having nearly made it to 100 years old, having lived through two world wars, my great-grandmother was a wise woman: she knew what she was talking about, she understood how significant the EU’s achievements have been.
Is it really worth jepordizing them for …. well, yes, for what exactly? There is no way of knowing what exactly would happen, but what is clear is that significant benefits of membership would be lost – the idea that membership benefits could be maintained in a case of Brexit are, frankly, simply ridiculous. Ever heard of a gym that lets you continue to use the equipment after you chose to cancel your membership? … This may seem a silly comparison, but it isn’t : ending membership to something has consequences. Pointing them out is assessing risks, not stirring up fear.
The EU has achieved so much that is positive, for the UK and everyone else in Europe.
It continues to facilitates exchange and collaboration, from trade links to Erasmus exchanges at university.
It funds cutting-edge research in the UK, and on a level that would be impossible to maintain post-Brexit.
It has put in place significant human rights protections, and continues to legislate for the strengthening of workers’ and consumer rights.
It facilitates the sharing of information and resources that help make us all safer.
It legislates to enhance services for consumers, e.g. by outlawing roaming charges or enhancing travel provisions.
These are only a small number of the many, many benefits EU membership brings. It is because of these benefits, and particularly the EU’s ability to unite us in peace and protect our rights, that I say, as loudly as I can: the UK is stronger IN.