Ahead of a third work experience week with the North Devon Gazette, my local newspaper, I proposed an idea to the editor Andy Keeble of a visual debate on the EU Referendum between two young people. He loved the idea, so I contacted fellow student Alex Mullen (in favour of leaving the EU) and he wrote a 200 word piece to accompany mine. They appeared in the following week’s paper and online (see here). Below is my case for Remain…
The European Union offers numerous benefits for young people, many of which we take for granted.
Almost every educational institution in North Devon, and certainly Petroc, is, in part, funded by the European Social Fund.
Furthermore, the Erasmus Mobility Programme subsidises numerous educational trips elsewhere on the continent and allows both UK and foreign students to study in other EU countries for a ninth of the UK tuition fee, if not for free.
Professor Melissa Percival from the University of Exeter recently warned of the impact exclusion from Erasmus+ could have on modern foreign language students.
Undoubtedly, membership of the EU is vital for British universities. Professor Sir Steve Smith, vice-chancellor and chief executive of Exeter University, wrote in the latest edition of campus newspaper Exeposé that the EU funds numerous research projects.
Even the one and only Professor Stephen Hawking has expressed his concern at the UK shutting its door to a budding community of scientific research.
Then there’s immigration – vital to young people’s futures because hard-working, opportunistic economic migrants use the EU’s freedom of movement to enhance our country’s workforce.
With the ongoing recruitment crises in the NHS and education sectors, we need these skilled professionals if they are to remain stable for our lifetimes.
I witnessed the devastating reality of climate change on a visit to Iceland in February, incidentally a non-EU country.
The rhetoric of both campaigns in recent weeks has demonstrated how low this issue is on UK governmental agenda, but the EU provides a framework that forces us to prevent further damage.
Ultimately, voting to remain isn’t a cop-out. Rather, it’s a safe, sensible and well-considered choice that will ensure that we, young people, will have prosperous futures.