By: James Knight, A politics student and Conservative Party member from Sheffield. Twitter: @anaveragetory. Instagram: @James_Knight98
The 28 states that make up the European Union create the largest single market in world. Within its borders, free trade and free movement has led to prosperity since its founding in 1993. It has expanded and succeeded to help the growth of ex-soviet countries, providing jobs and investment at home and abroad for those citizens. Europe may even expand to allow Turkey to join, widening the market further. This economic and political success story is now being marred by Euroscepticism and the refugee crisis. But does this mean Europe should split up under the first signs of trouble?
Firstly, it is worth noting that Europe has seen two World Wars in the last 100 years and has recovered, not through isolation, but through cooperation. The European Coal and Steel Community was once such example of countries, in the aftermath of war, managing to find a system that would mutually benefit one another in order to rebuild themselves. World War Two created the largest refugee crisis in living memory but still Europe continued to function and prosper in the wake of it, so why can’t this happen once more? Rather than seeing refugees as a burden, Europe can, and should see refugees not only as innocent victims of a war that we should help, but we need to recognise one more thing. That these refugees are the next Mandela’s, Malala’s, Einstein’s and Newton’s that will rebuild their homelands eventually, but in the meantime are an extra workforce, market and opportunity to develop cultural education of both the refugees and European’s.
Angela Merkel’s decision to take in over 1 million refugees last year was reported as being brave, risky, and even by some, wrong. But it was actually just someone in a position of power, acting humanely and recognising that people were in need of assistance. During 2013, the UNHCR reported over 42’000 people a day were forced to leave their homes to seek protection, and this number clearly has risen since then with the escalation of violence in Syria and Iraq. Whilst Europe has struggled to cope with this crisis over the last two years, it is starting to get a hold of the situation as one single unit (through cooperation with Turkey).
This won’t be the last crisis, with global warming leading to more droughts, people will have to move from areas such as the Sahel just to survive. But Europe will have experience in dealing with these crisis and, if it sticks together, will cope, and see opportunity in the face of adversity just like it did after World War Two.
It is a well-known fact that Europe needs to reform and create more accountability of bodies such as the European Commission, but that reform can only happen with cooperation, and so voting to leave the EU would be disastrous for all states, not just the UK. Europe has provided economic security for decades and has allowed for an improved quality of life for all citizens, provides 3 million jobs for the UK alone whilst allowing for unprecedented ease of travel. The breakup of Europe would not only damage the economies of 28 states, but it would potentially harm the lives of millions of refugees seeking asylum and safety. The European Union isn’t just a single market anymore, it is a lifeline for millions.
Europe should stick together Reviewed by Student Voices on 18:18 Rating: