Debates about Europe are being framed through a nationalistic lens. Arguments supporting it are not being made or heard strongly enough.
We can blame ignorance, a euro-sceptic press, nationalists, and racists. But what can we do to ensure a proper fair debate on the subject?
First, let’s make a better case for Europe and describe some of many advantages it gives citizens of England.
EU allows the free movement of people on its territory so a British citizen can go on holidays or work and create business anywhere in 27 countries freely without having to go through a visa nightmare. Now, surely it’s good! Hold on.. It also means that… Europeans can come over here!! IMMIGRANTS! Some of them might not even be white! Or speak English! Some of them might prefer salami to British sausage! Don’t panic, take a deep breath. I will let you into a secret: Immigration creates businesses and therefore creates jobs. EU immigrants can’t initially claim benefits or take free houses and cars, whilst non-EU immigrants can’t claim at all. (I tried. ) They can however pay tax. Immigrants bring LOTS of money into the economy, enrich English society and bring lovely food with them.
The EU also ensures free movement of goods that removes trade barriers, allows a British citizen to buy pretty much anything from Europe (food, clothes, technology) costing much less than it would if there were trade obstacles. Above all, such close trading between countries helps all of us from atrocities such as World Wars 1 and 2 being committed again.
The EU gives the opportunity for countries to tackle international problems like human trafficking, organised crime and climate change. I don’t think there is a need for me to explain why this is important. England can’t possibly tackle these problems on its own.
The European community created the European Convention of Human Rights that English Government then enacted in a form of the Human Rights Act 1998. It gave British citizens written assurance of equal human rights such as freedom of expression, association, religion, private and family life.
The EU funds a lot of projects, like the regional structural fund, that give local communities more power and funds, particularly deprived communities.
There are problems, like democratic deficit and Common agricultural policy. England can only solve those problems if it is a part of the European Union while enjoying all the benefits.
So, Europe allows us to have free movement of people, goods, life in peace, to tackle organised crime and climate change, to enjoy equal human rights and it gives more funding to deprived communities. All these controversial things .
How do we explain this to euro-sceptics?
I am very proud to say that I was recently appointed as a Political Development Officer for the Centre for Europe, the main goal of which is to build understanding of Europe by promoting European education. At the moment I am in the process of developing a strategy. If you have any ideas or want to be involved in campaigning for Europe and European education, e-mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org Let’s educate the public about the advantages of Europe!