The EU Referendum

Elizabeth Barraclough

West Cumbria Liberal Democrats Chair Elizabeth Barraclough writes in the Whitehaven News:

Why stay in Europe?

Liberal Democrats are convinced we should stay in Europe. At the time when we were all waiting to see what deal for Britain could be achieved, we were reminded that there were many more pressing concerns in the world – such as the migrant crisis, the war in Syria, the problems on the Russian border and rising sea levels resulting from Climate Change. Our view is that these difficult, almost intractable, problems cannot be solved by individual countries but must be tackled by working together in Europe, in the Commonwealth and in the United Nations.

What we cannot achieve alone is progress to combat environmental impacts. In Cumbria, we have seen the effect of the predicted warmer, wetter winters. Europe has to set an example and to provide the knowledge and techniques – Solar Power, Fusion Energy, Carbon Capture – for third world countries. The EU can and has tackled Europe-wide problems like the rescue of fishing stocks in the North Sea.

I am concerned about the many things we would lose by opting out. Our students are able to pursue courses in other EU countries – improving their understanding of different communities and learning to cooperate across language barriers. Crime is global, so criminals must be pursued across national boundaries using the European Arrest Warrant throughout Europe. Many Brits choose to retire to warmer climes in Europe, this would become much less easy.

We need the EU if we are to attract investment to create jobs and opportunities. Would Nissan have opted to build a new car in the North East if we were not in the EU?

Perhaps the greatest but not so obvious achievement of the EU is peace in Europe for 80 years. Those of us old enough to remember the second world war know that European countries must cooperate to avoid conflict.

The EU will continue. It needs to be reformed to avoid the financial problems that Greece and other countries have experienced. We need to be in the EU to help it achieve its potential of creating a Europe where everyone can live prosperously and in peace.

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