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Enlargement of the European Union (animation) European Community European Union (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s Europe Day!

Today is a day to celebrate everything Europe has done for us – from unity and peace to the single market.

The date itself is somewhat contentious. May 9th is the date of the Schuman declaration of 1950, widely held to be the inauguration of the European Union. The Council of Europe on the other hand, celebrates it on the 5th, the date of its inauguration in 1949. I personally prefer May 9th, because it’s also Victory Day in Eastern Europe, the date when Nazi Germany finally capitulated in World War II. The date is May 8th in much of Western Europe, so the 9th shares two important dates.

The EU hasn’t got the best reputation in the country I know best – the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Several prominent Europhobic MPs and MEPs on twitter are trying to get #NotoEU trending.

Stuff like the above makes me sad.

Because it’s just like this…

People forget everything that a unified, harmonious Europe has managed to do for us. So, here’s a brief rebuttal.

  • Worker Mobility – you can live, work, study, and retire anywhere in the EU!
  • Consumer Protection
  • Cheaper Flights
  • Faster Travel on Eurostar etc
  • Compensation for Air Delays
  • Lower Data Roaming Charges on Mobile Networks
  • Food Standards
  • Regional Development
  • Language Protection
  • Ban on Animal Testing for Cosmetics
  • Protection of Wildlife
  • Driving Licences RecognisedContinent-Wide
  • Controlling the Use of Chemicals
  • Better Rights for Temporary Workers
  • Safety Standards for Children’s Toys
  • Equal Rights for Passengers with Low Mobility
  • Milk for Schoolchildren
  • Common Research and Development Programmes
  • University Research Funding
  • Disaster Relief
  • Competitive International Trade
  • European-wide Policing via Europol and Eurojust
  • Cleaner Beaches and Rivers
  • Easier to Buy Property Abroad
  • No Death Penalty
  • Smaller Bureaucracy than the BBC
  • More Aid to Developing Countries
  • European-Wide Medical Care in Emergencies
  • Non-discrimination on the basis of gender, race, religion, ethnicity…
  • Pet Passports
  • ERASMUS Student Exchange
  • Da Vinci work experience exchange
  • No Border on the Continent
  • 20-20-20 – Strong Support For Environmental Protection
  • A Single Voice in World Trade
  • Counterweight to America and China
  • Greater Representation Internationally – Stronger Together Than Apart
  • Stability and Prosperity
  • Peace and Harmony on the Continent for the First Time
  •  Influence over Modernisation in the Balkans and Turkey
  • BENT BANANAS!

See a few of these lists for more.

The Europhobes are right – Europe really does affect every area of our life. But I firmly believe that we are better for this, not worse. Leaving the EU would be a disaster – we’d either leave the world’s largest trade bloc, or simply have no sway in its development. We’d lose our rights to multi-nationals and pervasive government. Yes, the EU isn’t perfect – is anything? In Britain, today’s Queen’s Speech is trying to finish the job of Lord’s Reform started a century ago by Lloyd George. But Britain, and all European nation states and nationals, need to be actively involved in Europe in order to build a better Europe… not let everything that we have achieved together fall apart.

Remember that.

Happy Europe Day.