By Susann Eberlein & Jessica Williams
Brexit - Britain has been a part of the EU since the 1970's but with the referendum soon approaching this alliance is definetly at risk. Britain's citizens are about to decide on their destiny. The authors take a stance on why Europe should remain united.
Susann: Why I am worried
As a German, should I worry about Great Britain leaving the EU? Will Brexit have a tremendous impact on my life? I have to change my euros into pounds anyway, and besides, getting rid of a sceptical, perpetually complaining country could also be a relief...
Well, I am still worried. The European Union is already in trouble: The refugee crisis, Euro-scepticism and the rise of nationalism are all troubling developments. Brexit would be another punch in the EU's face. Even the strongest boxers can endure only a few of them. Great Britain dropping out of a club that offers economical and political advantages and secures peace on the old continent could be the beginning of the EU's collapse, encouraging others to leave too.
The EU needs Great Britain as an example of liberty and democracy. With its 43 years of EU experience, its economic power and its huge population, it acts as counterpart to my country. Do I want an even stronger Germany in the EU, while being left alone with weak(er), struggling countries? I do not.
However, as the Brexit threat shows, the EU project needs to be pushed further. Economical and political integration is not enough. A shared European identity is necessary, an attachment to each other - like the one a boxer shares with his coach, who pushes his pupil through twelve rounds instead of taking him out the ring too fast. At the end, the boxer might even win on points.
Jessica: Stronger together
As a British student, Brexit has become a buzzword the past couple of years. It is a topic covered over a pint at the pub and always has prominent place in the papers for some reason or another. I believe we Brits are stronger in the EU than out of it. Although I have always thought about myself as British first, European second, I feel that Europe is still a crucial part of my identity.
Not only that, it is a crucial part of Britain's identity: Without Europe we are merely a lonely island with no ties to anywhere but ourselves. To isolate ourselves in this way seems incredibly short-sighted. It means we cut ourselves off from allies.
From what I have heard, there seems to be a lack of solid statistics from the Brexit campaign as to why exactly we will benefit from leaving - whereas there are so many that contest it, such as the fact that the EU has increased the average British salary by GBP 18,000. As far as I can see, the only thing Brexit can really offer is more independence for Great Britain. However, if you want to be part of a community you have to be willing to lose a little independence and cooperate.
We get so much more from being in the EU than we do by leaving it, such as the freedom to work and live anywhere in the EU.
In addition, having lived in London for most of my life, I can see the benefits of such a multi-cultural society and how much EU workers contribute to public services. I feel that an unsubstantiated fear of immigrants has been perpetuated by parties such as the UK Independence Party (UKIP). Britain must give up on this vanity project and stop blaming the EU for its problems.
Mark Boleat (GB), Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee, City of London Corporation, Prof. Gary Gillespie (GB), Chief Economic Advisor, The Scottish Government, and Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach (GB) debated Brexit in the light of the 46th St. Gallen Symposium (11-13 May 2016).