QOTM: UK <3 EU by Bettina Wolff

What is the best reason for people residing in the UK to love the EU?

I think it is important to realise what “EU” actually stands for: EU is the acronym for European Union.  Therefore the question really is about loving the union within Europe or preferring nationalism.

For me, the choice is obvious: In a globalised work the concept of nation states is largely outdated, not only economically. At the end of the day the European Union has been built on the idea of an economic union as the advantage of that seems to be more easily comprehensible to everyone. However, it has never been primarily about the (in a global economy undeniable) economic advantage of a single market with the possibility to target hundreds of millions potential costumers instead of just the population of one single country (about 64 million in the UK).

In the first place, the entanglement of an economic union has always been a means to the end of having a European Union of peace, freedom, democracy and friendship through collaboration in various areas like trade and education.

This also seems to make sense against the background of economic development being the foundation of our society’s wealth, without which we could not invest in our social development (meaning welfare, justice system and education) and therefore not progress as a society through peace and innovation, either.

So what has the European Union to do with this?

For one, the EU massively enhances the UK’s economic development by providing the opportunity to be a real global player as part of a wider European Union, especially in the face of the vast population end economic power of the emerging BRICS economies Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

This has the further implication that economic power translates into political power and without the European Union the UK would just be another tiny country on the map, which therefore could not really set any defining economic, social and political standards, but would need to leave this opportunity to countries like the BRICS. This would not necessarily be in line with what people in the UK want, although it would affect them through everyone’s interdependence in the global economy in just the same way nevertheless.

The UK being independent with its so-called historic “splendid isolation” is an illusion and has never been true, not even during the time of the British Empire where the UK has been very much dependent on the cooperation with its colonies, too, and we have not only seen in India how this fails in the long run, if based on oppression rather than friendship.

Moreover, the European Union does not only improve the UK’s economic development and political influence, but also provides funding and member state cooperation for your education/academic research and regional development where you need better infrastructure locally. And without the EU’s social security standards and consumer protection laws your personal welfare would look much more bleak, as the UK does not traditionally invest as much in your personal well-being as other EU member states.

Therefore I appeal to everyone in the UK and other European Union member states to love and invest in the EU, because the EU (meaning all of our partner member states) loves and invests in you, too, not only financially but politically and socially on an individual basis!

By Bettina Wolff (President of YEM UK)