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11 reasons young should vote for Remain

by Rachel Franklin | 18.05.2016

Turnout will be a key factor in deciding Britain’s future relationship with the EU, yet polls suggest younger voters are far less likely to vote. A glance at what’s at stake in the referendum makes clear that this is a vote that will shape the lives of future generations; it is a decision that should have young people at its core.

  1. Freedom to work, travel, study (and eventually retire) anywhere in the EU

Freedom of movement grants British citizens the right to work, travel, study or retire anywhere across the EU’s 28 Member States. Estimates suggest that around 1.2 million Brits currently live in other EU countries – and that is without counting temporary residents, like students. In 2014 alone nearly 40,000 UK residents took advantage of the EU’s Erasmus+ programme, enabling them to study, train or volunteer abroad. By contrast, leaving the EU could see visas reintroduced for Brits travelling abroad.

  1. Progressive values

Britain’s power to shape the future is enhanced, not diminished, by working inside a grouping of more than 500 million people. The EU is an effective advocate for social change, tackling human rights abuses and social inequalities. Areas successfully targeted by EU policy include LGBT rights, the death penalty and environmental and labour rights abuses.

  1. A fairer world

Collectively, the EU and its member states are the world’s largest development aid donor. Many development experts believe that channeling part of Britain’s efforts to combat poverty, conflict, inequality and climate change through the EU makes us more effective and efficient.

  1. Peace and democracy

The foundations of the EU lie in a continent torn apart by war. Ever since, the EU has sought to build bridges across divided nations. From Spain and Portugal to Croatia, the EU has played a crucial role in the transition of dictatorships and communist regimes to liberal democracies.

  1. A growing digital world

Completing the Single Market for services will create huge new opportunities for British digital and creative industries, already leaders in Europe. British enterprise stands to gain substantially from the EU’s digital agenda. Digital consumers are better off too, thanks to EU regulations offering protection in particular with cross-border transactions.

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  1. Employment rights

Some in the Leave camp have called for a bonfire of EU employment legislation. Rights like maternity leave and holiday pay, and workplace anti-discrimination rules are enshrined in EU law.

  1. Opportunities for young entrepreneurs

The EU is our biggest trading partner, taking in 44% of Britain’s exports. Britain also benefits from trade deals the EU has negotiated with 53 other countries. By using its considerable influence within the EU, Britain is able to shape future legislation in support of British enterprise.

  1. A more sustainable world

Britain can’t combat climate change on its own. The EU and its members were instrumental in brokering the Paris Agreement on climate change last year with their pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 and their agreement of 27% targets for renewable energy and energy savings by the same date. The EU’s introduction of energy efficiency standards has also driven innovation and reduced energy consumption of home electricals.

  1. Fighting terrorism

The UK has a leading role in setting the EU’s security strategy and in intelligence cooperation. This vital form of cooperation could be put at risk if Britain votes to leave.

  1. Cost of living

The EU’s foreign trade agreements alone have driven down the cost of everyday goods and services by over £5 billion a year. EU action launched the age of low cost flying in Europe and will end roaming charges in the EU by June 2017.  Losing access to the single market will hit living standards in Britain.

  1. Academic options

Freedom of movement ensures that British students can study elsewhere in the EU, sometimes for free. Increasing numbers do. LIkewise, universities are able to recruit Europe’s best academics to carry out research and teach UK students, while UK academics benefit from similar opportunities elsewhere in Europe. Currently 15% of academic staff in the UK are from other EU countries. Britain also benefits disproportionately from EU science funding – UK universities are coordinating fully one-third of all EU Horizon 2020 grants.

You can register to vote in just 5 minutes. Voter registration for the EU referendum is open until 7 June

Edited by Geert Linnebank

7 Responses to “11 reasons young should vote for Remain”

  • Especially if you are fed up with the older generation telling you what’s best for you. They won’t be around to sort out the mess a leave vote will cause!

  • Here’s 1 reason to leave that trumps all your 11 :

    Democracy! How about we vote (the British people) who we want to govern us?’

    • Because we don’t really have a democracy in this country, Charles. What we have is a mess of a system that allows us to sort of choose between which particular set of liars and frauds we want in office, none of whom actually represent the wishes of voting body anyway.

      Oh, and due to our incredibly archaic voting system, don’t actually need anything approaching a majority, even of those that vote. Plus, given that the latest voting turnout was barely over a third of the voters, it means that we have a governement that is supposedly democratic despite consisting entirely of people that were chosen for us, who were voted in by a minority of a minority, and do not actually have to do what we want them to do.

      Democracy? It’d be nice, but it’s not in the interest of our ruling body.

  • quick factoid, there are many non-eu countries that participate in erasmus. I do not not to what extent but they are involved.

  • If being in the EU is so good for young people why is youth unemployment so high in EU and especially Eurozone countries? In Greece it tops 50%, and in the Eurozone generally it’s 20%. Cheap holidays and low-cost mobile phone charges are OK, but a lack of meaningful long-term job opportunities and career prospects is saving up economic and social problems well into the future.

  • The UK has levels of maternity leave and maternity pay exceed EU minimums. There is no requirement for a minimum wage under EU law. UK equality laws were first passed before we joined the EU and you could travel to, live and work in EU states before we joined. There is no reason any of these things would change if we left.

    Young people should ask themselves if they think an EU government – and that’s coming whether we remain or leave – with the UK as a semi-detached member, half-in, half-out of the club, is best for them and our country.

    Better an amicable divorce now than trapped in an unhappy marriage forever more.