On the 23rd of June we will vote on one of the most important issues in our lifetime, in the Referendum on membership of the European Union (EU).
The EU has helped secure Peace in Europe from major conflicts that had killed and displaced millions over centuries. UK influence on world events, on conflicts, on key policies on trade, migration, environment and all the issues that contribute to a safe, civilised society for all and future generations is greater if we are in working with others within the EU. The USA and other non EU allies want to see us stay in the EU.
Being part of the world’s largest single free trade market of 500 million people, accounting for almost half of UK trade contributing to employment, prosperity and economic certainty. To enjoy similar “Free Trade” access to the EU, Switzerland and Norway have to conform to EU laws and contribute to the EU budget, but without a vote or influence.
UK secures the largest proportion of overseas direct investment in the EU, because we are seen as a key gateway to secure access to the EU market. The City and financial services benefits significantly from our position in the EU. Our farmers, regions, students and many parts of industry and commerce benefit from EU grants. Much of that and existing investment would be lost if we left.
Being in the EU means that UK citizens can live, work and travel freely whilst enjoying free health and other care across Europe. More than two million Britons live in the EU, many retired to France and Spain.
Millions of us fly to Europe on holiday, benefiting from the lower fares facilitated by EU airline de-regulation and the growth of airlines like EasyJet. Whilst EU citizens come to UK to work and learn, paying tax as they do; many as part of the 40 per cent of staff from overseas who make such a valuable contribution to the UK health service and other caring professions. Fifty per cent of UK inward migration is unaffected by our EU membership.
A popular misconception is that we have ceded sovereignty to Brussels, when in reality only some ten per cent of our laws emanate from Europe and are enacted through the European Parliament and passed by 751 elected MEPs of whom 71 represent the UK. Such laws help secure employment, environmental protection and free and fair trade to the benefit of us all.
Those advocating out talk of regaining control of borders and increasing trade but fail to say how. How long would it take to negotiate trade deals with 27 other European states? Or replace EU trade agreements with some 200 countries worldwide? What would be the effect on UK trade and the Stock market during the uncertainty of transition?
Leaving the EU is a voyage into the unknown in an increasingly unstable world. That needs collective European action to tackle terrorism, fanaticism and the ambitions of totalitarian China and Russia.
There is a proven certainty from UK EU membership. The alternative division, isolationism and nationalism increases uncertainty, threatens our security and creates barriers to prosperity and progress.
The only certain way is vote “Yes” to stay in the EC.
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