Project Positivity: 6 upbeat arguments for EU

by Jack Schickler | 18.06.2016

The risks of quitting the EU are not to be sniffed at. But there are also plenty reasons to feel warm and fuzzy about our membership.

Better deals, more opportunities

The EU’s single market spurs businesses to compete, which gives you lower prices and the best offers. EU action launched the age of low-cost flying and means you soon won’t pay pesky mobile roaming charges when you travel in Europe. The EU fines multinationals that seek to dodge taxes or conspire to rip off consumers. And new EU digital plans would mean you can shop around for the best deals online and keep watching your favourite iPlayer or Netflix shows when you travel.

Boosting our world-beating universities

UK universities get the lion’s share of EU science and innovation funding. They also attract the best European talent. No wonder the heads of over 100 British universities support staying in the EU, as do authoritative journals like Nature and the British Medical Journal.

Fighting for progressive values

EU fundamental rights bar discrimination on grounds of gender, race, religion, disability or age. The EU also sets rules on holiday pay and maternity leave, so competition doesn’t mean a race to the bottom. EU environmental rules have reduced air pollution, cleaned up our beaches and protected our natural habitats. EU courts have slapped down homophobia in eastern Europe.

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Global influence

EU membership projects and amplifies our voice in the world, enabling us to take a united stand against Iran for its nuclear programme and against Russia for invading Crimea. It also makes us valuable to allies like the US.

Britain can get what it wants by cooperating with our neighbours. After the UK set tough climate targets in 2008, we got the EU to pledge to slash carbon emissions by 40%. Working as a bloc then helped Europe secure an ambitious climate change agreement at talks last year in Paris.

The EU and its member states are the world’s largest development donors. Acting together helps us better tackle poverty, conflicts and inequality.

The benefits of free movement

As EU members, UK citizens are free to travel, live, work, study or retire in other European countries without visas or work permits. About 1.2 million Brits reside elsewhere in the EU, not to mention those living there for part of the yearIn 2014 alone nearly 40,000 of us studied, worked or volunteered abroad under the EU’s Erasmus+ programme. In one survey, 57% of young Brits say they’d like to work abroad in future.

EU migrants to the UK, meanwhile, mostly come to work, and contribute billions more to the economy in taxes than they use in public services. About 130,000 of them work in the NHS and in care homes. We would “surely miss” the benefit they bring, says NHS chief Simon Stevens.  

Peace and democracy

Leaving wouldn’t lead to World War Three, but it would mean abandoning our role in an organisation that has made a big contribution to fostering peace in our backyard. Created to prevent a repeat of World War Two, the EU has helped ex-dictatorships and communist regimes from Spain to Poland to Croatia become liberal democracies.

This article is an amended version of one which originally appeared on InFacts.

Edited by Alan Wheatley

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11 Responses to “Project Positivity: 6 upbeat arguments for EU”

  • To my mind, EU referendum has already divided this nation into two groups. Parties as such are non existant any more .Eveybody has to decide on which side he/she is staying. Only a small percentage of people will remain indifferent on June 23rd, though the reasons for leaving are based on the patriotism and nostalgia for the times when Britain was a great empire.But that was long ago.The then reign brought in much wealth to the small island, but the life of the working people was very hard. They had to fight to make it better. The immigration is a huge problem, but people come to Britain not only from Europe. They are coming from all over the world. If Europe splits after the Brexit, it will be very covenient for Russia to deal with the European countries seperately one by one. The outcome will be nasty. I don’t believe in better life after Brexit. Half of the nation will be effected by this in a very negative way. Hatred , regret, discontent on one side and happiness(?) on the other?Some politicians are so irresponsible, and their promises are based on fantasies.A change in a country’s life is not the same as the change in an individual’s life. There will be huge losses for some families.Is it worth putting people’s life at such a risk?Negotiations within EU would be much much better!

    • Thanks for this informative and up beat missive.

      On the street today l was threatened by two over 60 yrs old “Kippers” and had to report it to the Police who are taking it seriously. Whilst two ladies almost hugged me as of l was bringing them protection for their lives.

      Extreme emotions but this is the life on the streets. Let’s get real the debacle of what some are saying was an act of murder by sedition on a peace and unifying young mother MP has got females for once thinking, who will be next? Derided l will be l realise but having campaigned for three months now. ..nothing as this has happened until today!

      My daughter wishing me Happy Father’s Day commented that she and others had discussed this and had parallels of early despotism in 1920s Central Europe. She must have read Burleigh’s “”The Rise of Nazism a New History” the criminal religionality of totalitarianam. Read and see the similarities. But of course we are British and this could never get happen here??? That is why she is going to be first in line to vote on Thursday….REMAIN!…. I wonder why?

    • One of the reasons such dramatic divisions have emerged during this campaign is because the legitimate concerns people have about lack of sovereignty, uncontrolled immigration and the costs of our membership are immediately dismissed as misplaced patriotism, xenophobia or bigotry.

      The EU has benefits and it has costs. The unwillingness of the remain campaign to address or even acknowledge these issues is another cause of the divides.

      The EU will break up whether we leave or not. All empires do eventually as we know. The Mediterranean countries are crippled by being held to a northern European model. Unemployment has skyrocketed in these countries and they are only kept afloat thanks to the EU’s unwillingness to let their unworkable model die. I would rather leave now a be the catalyst to this inevitable breakup than wait for the further rise of the far right in European nations and the further throwing of tax payers money into an ideological but impractical, self serving and corrupt unelected political super state.

  • Britain has benefitted much from the EU. Generations of inept politicians have used the EU as convenient scapegoat for their own failures, while most of us take the benefit for granted so much That we believe it is a natural state. This the EU is woefully and unfairly unappreciated.

    Briten, please vote Remain, it is better for yourself and for the rest of us Europeans!

  • “UK universities get the lion’s share of EU science and innovation funding. They also attract the best European talent. No wonder the heads of over 100 British universities support staying in the EU, as do authoritative journals like Nature and the British Medical Journal.” What you fail to point out is that that money was our in the first place, so it’s not a “grant” at all – it’s the EU giving us back (some, no all) of our own taxpayer’s money.

    As for the EU promoting peace and democracy and preventing conflict with Russia: It is NATO (Britain was a founding member) and Britain’s role with her allies that have kept Russian adventurism in Europe at bay for the past 70 years. In fact, it was the EU’s political meddling in Ukraine that almost got us into a shooting match with Russia. It took US diplomatic intervention with Moscow to calm things down and prevent more Russian land-grabbing. The UK will remain a leading NATO member post EU and it will be NATO, not the militarily weak EU., that maintains the peace in Europe.

    • It is easy in every area we get EU funding from to say that it was ours in the first place. The point here is that we get back more than we put in to this part of the EU budget. It is certain that this funding would not be there from the current government. But it is not only the money, but also the links and networks set up for research (and teaching) that benefit our universities, and the staff and students in them.

  • Here are a few positive things the EU plays no direct impact to but each individual does.

    1. Humanity is forever growing with understandment of their surroundings and choose to work together to achieve a common purpose or go at it alone. (both options can have a positive & negative effect)

    2. The Environment is our eco systems, from the place we sleep, eat and move through, we each again choose to respect our own and others environments that we share.

    3. Love and hate are emotions we all feel, the responsibility of controlling them, managing and directing them lays with each human being.

    4. It is all choice by each of us to decide how we live, understanding the world around us and to teach, learn through experience. A membership isn’t needed when your progressing to a fair world of respect you choose to offer the support and help because you want to not because you have to.

    A vote leave is the agreement of leaving the old ways behind. To gain an understanding of a relationship and the foundations in which we progress in the future.
    When you have children in a relationship just because you become divorced dosnt mean a relationship dosnt exist anymore, in fact If the stigma of the need to marry to prove a commitment wasn’t driven into society (big money business) then there would never be a need to get divorced because they understood and respected their relationships from the start.

  • The positive benefits of being in the EU definitely outweigh the negatives (and there are some negatives). Most of the Leave arguments are unevidenced, and frankly unconvincing. I agree with virtually everything IN Facts had written. But my main reason for voting to Remain is less to do with facts and more to do with my inner feelings. I have, at times, been appalled at some of the Leave rhetoric on immigration. I brought my family up to respect and enjoy diversity. To be open minded, tolerant and understanding of other cultures. To be internationalist as well as well patriotic. If we follow the Leave line we will become a less open and tolerant country. Less internationalist and open minded. I sincerely hope my children and grandchildren don’t have to live in such a country. Only a Remain vote will help to keep the reputation of Britain as a fair, open minded, and tolerant country.