EU membership is not just about material gain

, 05 June 2016, Tags:

The below is a letter from Ann Williams, a member of Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party. It concerns the forthcoming EU Referendum.


On both sides of the debate, the question of our future relationship with the European Union has been conducted in terms of material advantages; will we gain/lose more economic and financial advantages by staying/leaving. There is another way of looking at the matter. Within living memory, Spain and Portugal have been ruled by fascist dictatorships; now, whatever problems they may have, both are democratic nations, respecting the human rights of their own and other citizens. The Baltic states and the countries of Eastern Europe were, until comparatively recently, wholly in the power of the Soviet bloc; now they too are independent and (despite social and economic difficulties) democratic nations. This has not happened solely because of their own efforts, heroic though they have been. It is the EU which has helped these countries overcome dictatorship, from within and without, and develop their own democracies, as part of a fellowship of peoples living together in peace. It was for helping in this transformation of Europe from a continent torn by war to one which settles its differences by discussion and co-operation that the European Union was in 2012 awarded the Nobel Peace prize. Peace, however, is a condition which can only be sustained through determined and dedicated action, and in 2016 we should remind ourselves of the legacy of peace bequeathed to us by the architects of the European Union (Winston Churchill among them), and maintain it by remaining a part of the Union.

 

Ann Williams

Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party

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