In or Out? Thoughts on the EU referendum

There is only two days to go until we know where the United Kingdom stands within the European Union and if I’m being honest, I’m getting a little bit worried.

I have done my research, I have had my debates and I have made my mind up.

There has been countless discussions televised in the last few weeks and the questions just keep repeating themselves: Why do we spend so much on the EU? How does it benefit us? How are you going to stop immigration? Why should we stay?

One of the big talking points of the leave campaign is the amount of money that Britain puts into the EU. Although it is true that we do invest in the EU, the amount we get in return far outweighs our contribution. We never expect to get something of nothing in everyday life, so why do people expect that of investment in the european union? In fact, the amount we contribute has been negotiated and we pay a lot less than other member states. 

One of the major benefits is the single market. For businesses this means that they experience no tariffs on imports and exports within the EU which makes trading a lot more efficient and less costly. Externally, being part of the EU makes us part of a larger power more able to negotiate with markets like the US for free trade. For companies looking to expand, it is important that these trade deals are available. Although it may just be an empty threat, the President of the United States has suggested that the UK will be of a lower priority in their trade deals in the future if we exit. As someone who would one day like to be able to run my own business internationally, this is a risk I am not willing to take.

I am not going to claim that the European Union, as it currently stands, is perfect. Of course there can be some improvements and we do need to regain control of certain things. However, through our membership, Britain has a voice. As a country, we are able to influence major decisions much better when we are seen as a valid participant. I don’t know the ins and outs of it but I can’t see how being separate from the rest of the continent would make us stronger. Let us not forget that we are a lot smaller than many other European countries.

The biggest issue with this referendum is that people no longer see it as a vote for in and out of the EU, but instead a vote for whether we want immigration or not. Both campaigns want to reduce immigration and restrict it in some way and leaving the EU will not stop immigration altogether. There are many other countries outside the EU which highly contribute to Britain’s immigration intake. As a matter of morality, we must still take immigrants from worn-torn countries and refugees, this will not change for either campaign. So who is it we are really moaning about? The european immigrants that I know work incredibly hard and support the UK government and do not take advantage in any shape or form but of course that is only my experience.

An exit could see unemployment increasing with businesses operating throughout Europe moving out of the UK and a reduction in investment to UK companies from EU investors. In truth, we really don’t know what is going to happen but in my opinion the bigger risk comes from the unknown.

For me personally, the EU enhances my life. Our membership of the EU is what is allowing me to practice the language I am studying for my degree in its native country. It also provides me with Erasmus funding so that I can support myself whilst abroad. I have become a much more rounded person by being fully integrated with all kinds of different cultural influences and I wouldn’t want to stagnate that for generations to come.

I am not a politician and I don’t know all the facts, I can only offer my opinion and perspective which, for me, firmly points to REMAIN.

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