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Answer to Queen’s question: peace, power and prosperity

by Hugo Dixon | 22.06.2016

The Queen has been asking her dinner companions for three good reasons why we should stay in the EU, according to her biographer, Robert Lacey. Here’s the answer.

First, peace. The EU has helped make war between Germany and France virtually unthinkable. It has provided a democratic home for former fascist regimes in southern Europe and former communist states of the Soviet bloc. As a result, we now have a 1,000 mile zone of security in every direction. That’s a powerful buffer against instability further afield.

NATO, of course, is the mainstay of our defence. But NATO doesn’t do economic sanctions, while the EU does. That helped bring Iran to the negotiating table on its nuclear programme and check Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine. Nor does NATO do counter-terrorism, an area where the EU is playing an increasing role. What’s more, Donald Trump, an anti-NATO bully, could be America’s next president. That risk makes it even more important to stay in the EU.

Second, power. Britain is one of the EU’s leaders. We don’t get bossed around in Brussels, contrary to the propaganda being peddled by the Leave camp. We can use that power to make things happen on the global stage. Last year, for example, we pushed the EU to take an ambitious stance against climate change – which, in turn, helped secure a good global deal at the Paris summit.

Our power in the EU also give us clout to cut advantageous trade deals with America, Japan and China. Looking to the future, one of our biggest challenges will be the migration crises of the Middle East, Africa and Asia. As one of the EU’s leaders we are well placed to devise and help execute a joined-up political and economic plan to stabilise our immediate neighbourhood.

Third, prosperity. The EU’s single market, which we helped create, is the world’s biggest trade bloc. Not only does it underpin our current prosperity; the best is yet to come. We are in the midst of a project to build a single market fit for the 21st century, by extending it to the digital economy, services and capital markets, These are all dynamic areas where Britain excels.

There are many other reasons why Britain should stay in the EU. But, on their own, these three make a compelling case.

Edited by Alan Wheatley