There are many valid arguments both to remain in the EU and to leave the EU. Those who wish to leave say it is an obvious choice between gaining back proper democracy and leaving power in the hands of European bureaucrats. Those who wish to remain say it is a choice between a Britain which is open to the world and to working with other countries for the greater good, and a Britain which is closed off from the world. In this article I want to objectively go over some of the reasons to remain in the EU.
First of all, being in the European Union means that as British citizens we can travel around and work wherever we want in the other twenty-seven EU member states. This makes it easier for us to holiday, but also gives us immensely greater choice when looking for jobs. If we can’t find a job suited to us in the UK we can go to Germany, France, Ireland, Belgium and many other countries to find the job we want. Also, it means that when we retire we can choose to take up residence in romantic Italy or sunny Spain – as thousands of British pensioners already have done. If we were to leave, many of these people might be forced to return to Britain.
Being part of the EU is also beneficial to our trade with the continent. Currently, we have free trade with all EU member states which if we left would have to be renegotiated, which would cost a lot of money and might result in a worse deal than we had before.
Additionally, our membership of the EU is advantageous in regard to looking after the environment. Being outside the EU, Britain would still be able to pass green legislation so as to reduce its pollution levels and usage of fossil fuels, but would make it much more difficult to get other countries to become more environmentally friendly. Being in the EU Britain can help pass green legislation which not only affects itself, but affects twenty-seven other countries – taking the fight to climate change much more effectively.
Working with other nations as part of the EU also arguably helps keep the peace in Europe. The economic union which would later become known as the European Union (the European Economic Community) was established in 1958 and since then there has been no large-scale war in Europe. Some put this down to other factors like the existence of NATO and the fact that during the Cold War (1945-91), for which central Europe was a crucial fault line, a very different style of warfare was conducted on the basis that if there was open war between America and Russia in any part of the world it might well end in nuclear apocalypse, due to the creation of the atom bomb in 1945. However, it is also true that it makes it less in a country’s interest to go to war with another country (or countries) if it gains from being in a political and economic union with them.
Image: By THOR (Summer Sky in Southsea England) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons