1. Achievements: the EU has served Europe and Britain It has reconciled the countries of Western Europe; it underpinned the democratic transition of Greece, Spain and Portugal; and it has been crucial in bringing stability to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The EU has played a key role in generating prosperity, raising environmental and labour standards and it provides a framework for member states to work together to solve problems. Let’s preserve and build on its success.
2. Interests: Britain shares most of the same interests and values as our European partners. Many of the leading emerging markets do not share our world view or a commitment to human rights and liberal democracy. The EU member states share many of the same challenges too – to our security from ISIS and Russian aggression; to our prosperity from the shift in the economic balance of power towards the East; to social cohesion from the tendency of globalisation and technological advances disproportionately to benefit the elite; and the need to tackle the root causes of large-scale migration. We can more effectively advance our interests working together.
3. Prosperity: Britain has prospered in the EU. Since 1973, when Britain joined the EEC, our economy has grown by 103% compared with 99% for the US and 97% for Germany. We are Europe’s leading destination for foreign investment. The scale offered by a Single Market is good for our companies’ ability both to trade in Europe and to compete in world markets. Completing the Single Market for capital flows, energy and the digital economy would add 7% to Britain’s GDP. It is argued that the EU imposes unnecessary red tape but objective evidence for this is scant – the OECD ranks the UK as having amongst the most lightly regulated product and labour markets; and we rank in the top 10 in the Global Competitiveness Index and the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ Index. Europe is the largest knowledge producing area in the world; we must strengthen our scientific and research base in order to compete with the US and China. British universities are big net beneficiaries of EU science and research spending and benefit from their participation in European networks.
4. Patriotism: Support for Britain to Remain in the EU is a rejection of the ugly face of intolerance and nationalism and an affirmation of a positive and confident view of Britain’s role in Europe and the world. It recognises that the national interest is best served through working closely with our neighbours to solve problems and to promote our values. Patriots recognise that in the modern world we need to share sovereignty.
5. Influence: Britain is better able to project influence in the world when we work with our EU allies. The EU is the world’s leading exponent of soft-power. It is an influential advocate of: tough action against climate change; and, as part of the biggest economic entity in the world, trade liberalisation. It was a major actor in blocking Iran’s nuclear ambitions and has implemented tough and effective sanctions against Russian aggression in Ukraine. The EU’s positions on key strategic issues will continue to have major implications for British interests; inside the EU we can shape them. The US has made it clear; we matter more to them as an influential country within the EU than we do alone.
6. Security: a significant proportion of crime – e.g. terrorism, cybercrime and drug and human trafficking – has an international dimension. Through Europol, the European Arrest Warrant and intelligence sharing, the EU provides an important framework for fighting crime and terrorism, as the former heads of MI5 and MI6 and senior police officers have made clear. Much more could be done together.
7. Environment: pollution doesn’t respect borders. The EU has worked effectively to tackle air and water pollution, to reduce the health impacts of toxic substances and to combat climate change. 95% of British beaches now meet exacting EU standards. Let’s keep up the pressure and defend the higher standards that the EU has helped to create.
8. Opportunities: the EU has created many benefits for individuals. British citizens can move around Europe to study, work and live, expanding the opportunities available to us all. When we travel in the EU we have the security of knowing that our health will be looked after. The EU has played a major role in opening up air travel through cheap flights; it has intervened to stop mobile phone companies from ripping us off when we travel in the EU; and it is working to promote fair competition in digital services.
9. Peace: For centuries our young men have died in European wars. Over 20 million soldiers and civilians from the current EU countries died in the World Wars. The EU’s greatest achievement has been to bind the countries of Europe together so as to discourage nationalism and promote co-operation. But as the recent conflicts in the Balkans and Ukraine and the rise of nationalist parties in some EU countries remind us, we should not take our peace and stability for granted; things can unravel quickly.
10. Geography: It is a fundamental truth that Britain is a European country. Whilst Britain trades internationally and plays an active role in world affairs, the continent is our natural political, economic and cultural hinterland. It makes sense for us to work closely with our neighbours to tackle common problems. If we choose to alienate our closest allies and trading partners there is no other bloc with which we would we have the same confluence of economic and strategic interests.
Britain has done well within the European Union. With a mandate from the British people, the Prime Minister will speak with renewed authority. Britain should take a lead in pushing for further reforms aimed at making the EU more effective in foreign policy and in combating crime and terrorism, in encouraging less regulation, in advocating for the completion of more international trading deals, and in completing the single market in capital, energy, services and the digital economy. There is a challenging agenda ahead. Let’s lead Europe not leave Europe.
Created and published in 2016