EU debate: Better to be in

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As a teenager, I lived in my father-land, Switzerland, and as an adult in France. I’m now in my mother-land, and facing a potential Brexit.

From abroad, I thought that Brits were treble-lucky, they had a constitutional monarchy, and part of the commonwealth and the common market too! Eg in 2014, a Swiss initiative which would limit the free movement of people from EU member states was accepted narrowly (50.3 per cent), but the vote annulled the 20-year-old bilateral agreements with the EU, which had made the area more secure, ie -border controls for travellers (tourism/business) sharing the same data base and making it easier to trace criminals or fraudsters. Work was safer too, for employer and salaried worker. The price of negotiations with the EU are not accounted for by Brexiters and claims that the NHS/schools/housing will get more funding are untrue as the budget will be allocated to costly and legally binding bilateral agreements, because the EU implements a democratic process before ratification with a non-EU state.

It is overall less dear to live in the EU; i.e.: lower roaming charges affect all EU citizens and communication are essential to business men or tourists who travel abroad. USEFUL laws are made by the EU but Brexiters gain support for national issues only and woo extremism. Commodities are cheaper to all inhabitants within the EU, and decisions like buying home-grown food produce are left to member-states yet safeguarding choices for all consumers; e.g.: EU controls labelling for organic produce.

Since 1999, the Euro zone citizens and businesses have ceased paying exorbitant exchange rates. If one has to live or plan a holiday in an EU country, drivers’ licences are recognised, making roads safer for all users.

Excluding Britain from a strong continent is nonsense and national democratic sovereignty in each member-state is a fact. Since Britain joined the common market, Europe has grown but dictatorships have fallen (e.g.: Portugal, Greece, Romania, etc) contributing to the well-being overall of EU citizens.

A negative vote will be implemented only 24 MONTHS after, the only change will be two years of a demoralising uncertainty as to what will happen in 2018. E.g.: in 2017, Swiss businesses, whether small agricultural vineyards (their market is more internal) or big watchmakers (their markets are turned to exports mainly and to every market, European, American, Asian) will face slower process to employ an EU citizen and it will affect taxpayers as services will have to raise numbers of civil servants devoted to checking these employment requests that had become standardized and faster to complete for EU citizens.

Economic considerations to stay in the EU supports political ones that in turn affect social laws. EU laws often defend the citizen’s rights and freedoms, coordinate security and education, and are democratic, even if some are personally annoying, like most national laws, in fact. European democracy and tolerance of opinions is inexistent for a majority of the 7 billion inhabitants across the world, and we should be proud of being part of Europe, and not reject it. Arguments about national decision in spending (eg: cuts in heath services, price rises in energy or food bills), have absolutely nothing to do with EU membership and are a result of political and national decisions made by English, Welsh, Scottish governments.

Apart from an Erasmus programme for affordable exchange between students across Europe, many “advantages” will disappear for the Brits, young and old, besides a wider feeling of “identity” with the continent. We may all be different and speak a variety of languages but we share the same cultural roots through a COMMON History, going back to Ancient Greece or Roman times. The rich vocabulary of the English language is living proof of our belonging to Europe, and only History of post-colonial Britain brought along the advent of the Commonwealth.

Europe needs to be stronger and include Britain in order to implement better foreign affairs strategies, safer banking rules, break the mafia trafficking in humans/drugs/real estate, implement stronger education, address safety and health issues for the well-being of all its citizens.

J Cattaneo

The Swallows

St Catherine’s Rd

Littlehampton

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