Monday, 4 February 2013

Why Britain Should Stay In the EU

by Ross Watkins

(source: The Guardian)

There is an important debate in Britain at the moment: whether to stay in the EU or not. In a recent poll by YouGov, 40% of voters said they would vote to remain in the EU if a referendum were held while only 34% would leave. This is down from the poll taken last November in which 34% voted to leave while 30% would stay. This obviously highlights the public's interest in the importance of staying in the EU. David Cameron is seen not to want Britain to leave the EU, but merely to wish to reduce the powers Brussels have over Britain, effectively introducing a looser relationship. I myself would prefer if Britain stays in the EU. I will present my argument and also show the counter argument put forward by parties such as UKIP (see William Bates' article, Why Britain Should Leave the EU). 
Many Euro sceptics argue that the EU has not done much for the UK and the UK has received an unfair output proportionate to its input. But I argue that the EU has brought the nations of Europe closer together and we have seen over half a century of peace in western Europe; this was pointed out by Germany's foreign minister when he visited London on the 18th of December 2011. Nearly seventy years of peace on a continent that for the previous thousand years had seen constant wars and conflicts is an extraordinary achievement and a major argument in favour of the continuance of the European Union and our continued membership.
Furthermore, I and many others fear that, if Britain were to leave the EU, we would lose our place as an influential power to the world. This fear was complemented by those of Americans political leaders, as they see the UK as the USA's main ally inside the EU, one senior US diplomat stating that it would be the worst- case scenario if the UK decided to leave the EU. Britain as part of the EU can have a significant impact on world affairs; Britain by itself is a relatively small and decreasingly powerful country that will struggle to be listened to by China, the USA or rising powers such as Brazil and India.  
Another main reason which I put forward for staying in the EU is the ease of travel throughout the EU. One does not need a visa to travel to France and the same is true the other way around. This I believe has helped boost tourism from local countries as it is possible to visit Paris or London (if one lived in France) in a day trip, reinforcing the sense of cultural interaction that can only help reduce the chance of war and conflict (see above). 
Also the ease of travel had led in rise for business options for companies wishing to relocate factories and staff to countries where labour and housing are cheaper and of better quality. In addition, there is a reduced amount of paperwork when trading in the EU which increases our trade and therefore our overseas markets. I myself have experience the ease of travel as I went on a school trip to Poland and we were in the centre of Krakow in 6 hours. This happens the opposite way as we have seen a large increase in the amount of people of eastern European living in the UK. This I believe has proved positive as we receive high-quality labour in areas such as construction which benefits British consumers and businesses.
So I believe that the EU is worth staying in and the future benefits will be greater than the current turbulence the EU has produced. I agree with David Cameron to the extent that I believe that Britain should renegotiate a new deal with Brussels and either reduce our financial input as a leading member or increase our receipts from the EU budget. However, leaving the EU would spell disaster for the already struggling British economy. And now, facing that realisation, the public (as the poll I cited above shows) is rethinking whether it is such a good idea to leave (it isn’t).


  1. Do you actually think that if Britain left the EU, european war would break out?


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