The EU: In or Out?

Thoughts from Alanna…

If you follow any UK news, you’ll know that all everyone is talking about is the upcoming UK referendum. On June 23, this vote will decide whether the UK will stay in the European Union.

Naturally, it’s causing quite a stir.

The EU is made up of 28 countries in Europe, the UK being one of them. The agreement allows goods and people to move around easily and nearly all the countries have a common currency “the Euro.”

The UK government wants to stay in. A lot of its people want to leave.

Some British feel the UK would be stronger if they leave the EU, being able to control their own borders and end EU membership fees. In general, get their “culture” back as British instead of European.

From what I’ve heard, migration from the EU is a touchy subject. Being in the EU means anyone from the union can live and work in England. For such a small country, BBC states England’s current net migration is over 300,000 a year with migration from the EU coming in under half of the total. Those backing “Brexit” say the EU migration puts incredible strain on public services and the country’s immigration is impossible to control while being in the EU. “Vote Leave” also states that being in the EU means they can’t stop convicted criminals coming to the UK and doesn’t allow Britain to deport them.

At the same time, the opposition states that staying in the EU “makes it easier to keep criminals and terrorists out of the UK. Since 2004, using the European Arrest Warrant, over 1,000 suspects have faced justice in UK courts and over 7,000 have been extradited from the UK to face trial or serve a sentence.” So who’s right?

As a Canadian, I understand the feeling of having a closed border. Those entering Canada go through a lot of checks, even those driving in from the United States. Even travellers with a DUI charge have to go through extensive paperwork to enter Canada.

However, it would be an incredible opportunity to pick up your life and try out a new country like France, Germany or Italy without the headache of applying and paying for a visa. When I came to the UK on a Tier 5 Working Visa, I had to pay a couple thousand dollars (including paying into UK’s healthcare), attend a Biometrics interview, get my fingerprints recorded and photos taken. When my visa is up, I have to get out of the country whether I have a successful life here or not.

There’s also the topic of migrates using UK welfare, which the government and the “Vote Remain” campaign hopes to put more restrains on while still staying with the EU. Their website is also full of all the reasons why leaving the EU is a terrible idea, including pushing the UK into a massive economic shocked-state.

The vote brings into question the UK’s culture. I’ve never heard a British person identify themselves as “European.” They’re British, or English, Welsh or Scottish. People I’ve talked to feel they’re losing their identity with more and more influence by the EU. They’ve kept true to keeping their own currency, but feel the pressure to conform to the EU.EU Referendum

Recently, the Treasury published a report that a vote to leave the EU would push the UK into a recession, losing about 820,000 jobs. At the same time, “Brexit” accuse these reports as fear mongering and says it downplays the fact that the UK would be allowed to negotiate its own trade deals with other countries and be freed from any EU trade regulations. They also state that since 1973, the UK has sent over half a trillion pounds to the EU, noting that it would be better spent in the country itself on hospitals, schools and infrastructure. But doesn’t it help to offer support to others in need?

Honestly, after researching different articles and contrasting views, it’s information overload and I haven’t even scratched the surface. But the vote is coming, whether you’re ready or not.

So the question stands: are you voting leave or remain?

Do you want the UK to remain or leave the EU?

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