The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Open letter to the British public: why don’t you want to be European?

Danish student Victoria Sorensen wonders why Brits don’t want to be a part of Europe

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Deciding to go to university in Britain and leaving home – Denmark, was one of the major decisions in my life. And I can honestly say that I have no regrets about it what so ever, I love Britain. However, sometimes I get the feeling that the love between the majority of the EU member states and the United Kingdom isn’t as mutual as my love for scones and clotted cream.

Sometimes I feel that my fellow students only love me for my Nordic blonde hair.  This feeling I had all the more strongly following last Wednesday, when the Prime Minister David Cameron announced his plans for a referendum on EU membership. And it seems that the population as a whole want to distance themselves from Europe, statistics show that only 40% of the British population actually wanted to be a part of the Union.  As well as this, I have come across a mystery. It seems that whenever I am in a deep intellectual discussion about culture or integration with one of my fellow students (British, not to forget), they keep referring to `Europeans’ in the 3rd person. A European is I, and everyone else in the EU, but yourself. So, why do you not want to be European?

I came up with three possible reasons. Firstly, the pride and stubbornness of an old Empire. As a result of this arrogance, a constant strive towards maintaining the global power image Britain enjoyed up until the early 1900’s. Secondly,  the European financial crisis. It’s caused problems throughout all European economies, ultimately sending most member countries in a state of recession – even those who opted out of the Euro. And finally, the geographical divide. Is it the water? Is it really the water? Seriously?

As David Cameron may have been forced by his own Tory backers to take on a certain attitude towards the EU,  his speech last Wednesday may well have been nothing more than a strategic move. Or it may have been  some kind of attempt to try to improve British standing in any future EU negotiations, showing that you are willing to leave if need be. However, if we consider the scenario of Britain outside of the EU, we can see the foolishness of David Cameron’s position. Britain would no longer favour financial regulation, the elimination of tax barriers, and free movement of employment and education. All of this would ultimately affect the national economy, making it difficult for Britain to compete with faster growing economies like China and Brazil.  Furthermore, it will lose its strong opposition against the US in preserving interests across the Atlantic. The US would be in a difficult position, trying to juggle a relationship between Britain and the EU. All this leaves us with the question; is Britain really capable of going on by itself? I dare say no.

Britain needs to get over its Europhobia. The incentives of being a member country of the EU have undeniably diminished over the past few years, but the EU is more than just financial and strategic perks. It is in fact largely a project of peace and securing order in our region of the world. For that project to succeed, we have got to cooperate. Britain is dependent on the EU, and the EU needs Britain. The United Kingdom freed my country and most of Europe from totalitarianism in 1945. Now you want to free yourself from the project, which has been the very armour against new wars and tyranny in Europe. Does Britain really want to be the country to throw the project for peace down the drain? I don’t get it; I love you, why don’t you love me?

 

 

  • Pip Moss

    The Eurozone bound together 12 (now 17) economies and ruled them somewhat as one big country, with the same interest rate and so on. The problem is that the economies are very different from each other, so they all pulled in many directions and stressed against the legal bonds they had put in place – this has made the Eurozone recession significantly worse than it would be.

    The Eurozone’s solution is to double down, and plan even closer ties in the hope that if the bonds are stronger and the combined behaviour more fundamental (issuing combined government bonds – debt which any country could cause to default – is a likely move) then the economies will be forced into all moving together, and won’t diverge like they did before. But if they do diverge again the harm to the Eurozone would be even worse than it was this time.

    We don’t believe you that it will work. We know that the EU wants the Eurozone to include the entire EU (they’ve said so many times, and it’s a requirement of entry). We don’t want to lock ourselves into an experiment we think is doomed to fail, and bring down every economy in it as it does so.

  • Max

    Its not about being European or not being European. Its about the EU. Norway and Switzerland are European countries are they not.
    We have a two tier EU at the Moment. Tier 1 is the Eurozone led by Germany. Tier 1 is becoming more like a United States of Europe. Tier 2 is all the Non-Euro EU countries.
    Better being out as a whole, then having one foot in and one foot out.

  • Rory

    We have a dislike for the EU because we feel it is anti-British. The Tobin Tax the other year highlighted this. We also have very different ideologies to Europe and what the eu wants. We don’t want to be dragged by the EU and Europe. We call nations in Europe and their people Europeans because we don’t see ourselves as Europeans. Of course we recognise we are in Europe, but you will never find a Brit that says he/she is European. Always British, unless you meet someone from Scotland. Then it’s always Scotland first. We do have an attitude that we feel we are perhaps better and more civilised than Europeans, but that is just old traditions left from the imperialist times. However, we are better in every single way than those weirdo French.

    We also feel that Europeans dislike us greatly, which also adds to the resentment towards Europeans. One example of this, no matter how small, is eurovision. I don’t care if the UK does well or not, but it highlights that Europe dislikes us. The competition is not meant robe fuelled on politics when down to voting. Yeah Right! Every Scandinavian country will vote for eachother, every Balkan country will vote for eachother, every former soviet nation will vote for eachother. We can have a decent song, but because doesn’t like us, we always finish down the bottom of the table.

  • Rory

    Also, everywhere you go in Britain, you will find a hoard of European immigrants. Then there’s London. Biggest melting pot in the world except for America. Yet, we get not very much back from Europe. They come over here, some just live on our welfare state, get free healthcare on the NHS, give them affordable housing. What do we get in return? Lets not kid anyone, it’s a well known fact the UK is not popular in Europe.

    Our friendship with America is because have a lot more in common, and we get eachother. Also, it’s not that we don’t like individual countries like Denmark, we like them. We do dislike the French very much though. However, we don’t love countries, because none love us. There may be individuals like yourself that love Britain, but we just aren’t popular. I know Norway send us a huge Christmas tree every year as thanks for what we did for them in ww2, but that’s about all that a European nation does to show that they like us. Even our neighbours Ireland are happy to live here, and they are great people, but they used to get us angry with their apparent unwillingness to stop the IRA ( terrorist group in Northern Ireland) getting supplies from the Ireland.

  • EU2014

    UK needs the EU but I don’t really understand why EU needs UK at all? Kick the British out of EU and grant them their wish once and for all – Europe doesn’t need them. The other member states of EU can survive just fine if UK were to get out – in fact I think it would be better for the EU we can focus on rebuilding our economies and trade with the emerging world. All the best fashion, automobiles, engineering goods and services are produced in continental Europe – UK doesn’t have any skills besides cheating on financial markets and churning fake money on computer screens in their criminal banks.. the banking system created by UK is dishonest, corrupt and filthy and that is the reason why we are in recession. Europe should get rid of UK and focus on producing better goods, services and enhancing trade with the rest of the world – there is a huge market for european goods out there… British goods are useless and ugly – burberry for gods sake…even my dog won’t wear that ugly check print.

  • EU2014

    One more thing – British don’t like the rest of EU because they know very well they are not as “refined” or sophisticated like continental Europeans. Look at British cuisine…or their fashion sense – or their art. Look at any British high street…they all look the same now full of horrible chains , there is no art or culture or beauty in UK – it’s an ugly country with a complex and they seriously lack sophistication. UK has the highest level of poverty in Europe and the highest level of violent crime in the developed world – they are uncivilised and uncouth and just aggressive thats why they ruled over so many countries and destroyed them completely now they are destroying Europe….we don’t need them get rid of UK from EU.

    ..they can’t tolerate French because in France people drink wine or champagne and in Britain they drink beer and bubbly….LOL.