Welcome to my blog! I intend to use this space to talk about the proposed referendum for 2017 which will allow the British public to decide whether they want to be in or out of the European Union. The recent European Parliament election results would suggest that a large percentage of the British public are no longer keen on Brussels. With 27.5% of the vote, the UK Independence Party are pushing for Britain to leave the EU. Their leader Nigel Farage has campaigned strongly against EU membership, arguing that the EU has grown from a simple trade agreement between European countries into an overbearing supranational political system. UKIP have certainly made a splash on the front pages in recent months, both in terms of growing support for their plan for British extraction from the EU and also for some of their contemptuous party members who have made some quite shameful homophobic and racist comments. We are all aware of this, we are also all aware that the Prime Minister David Cameron has promised that if re-elected the Conservative Party will promise a ‘in’ or ‘out’ referendum on Europe in 2017. The Conservatives managed 23.9% of the EP election vote, which would indicate that along with UKIP at least half of Britain want to check European power in some way or another.
So why am I interested in debating Britain’s future in Europe? I think Europe is an exciting, vibrant and diverse place that offers many great opportunities for travel, employment and learning. I am benefiting already from the freedom the EU gives it’s citizens to travel across borders. I now live in Berlin where I have been learning German, working as a professional tour guide and exploring a fantastic city. Young people know that Europe has a lot of potential, but unfortunately we are not that interested in protecting it. During the 2009 European election participation of 18-24 year olds in the European elections was only 29% while the participation of 55+ year olds stands at 50%. Overall participation across Europe in the 2009 election was 43%. As young people we need to start realising that the EU has a lot to offer and that it would be a great shame if we are no longer part of it.
I have to leave it there for now folks as I must go off and do a tour. My next post will discuss study exchanges across Europe (Erasmus) and look at the positives that British and European students take away from this experience.
Any bets on Germany winning the world cup tonight?