Britain at the heart of Europe is the only sen­si­ble choice

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

More than three months af­ter the EU ref­er­en­dum in the United King­dom was an­nounced by Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron and less than a month be­fore the Bri­tish peo­ple give their ver­dict and af­ter count­less de­bates, speeches, ar­ti­cles and com­men­tary, there can be no doubt that the Leave cam­paign has com­pletely run out of steam. Hav­ing lost the ar­gu­ment on ev­ery sub­stan­tive is­sue in this cam­paign, the Brex­i­teers’ strat­egy, if it can be called a strat­egy at all, can now be dis­tilled down to two words: im­mi­gra­tion and im­mi­gra­tion.

They have lost the eco­nomic ar­gu­ment. They do not even know whether their al­ter­na­tive so­lu­tion is to be in or out­side the sin­gle mar­ket. They have lost the se­cu­rity ar­gu­ment. They have lost the sovereignty ar­gu­ment. They have lost the peace div­i­dend ar­gu­ment. They have lost the influence and lever­age ar­gu­ment. They have lost the in­ter­nal unity of the United King­dom ar­gu­ment. The truth is that they do not care about the in­tegrity of this union.

Ac­cord­ing to them, we have to dis­miss the views of the Bank of Eng­land, the Pres­i­dent of the United States, the sit­ting Prime Min­is­ter and Chan­cel­lor of the Ex­che­quer, the Word Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion, the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, the G7, 99% of the 350 FTSE com­pa­nies, HM Trea­sury, the In­sti­tute of Fis­cal Stud­ies, ev­ery liv­ing for­mer Prime Min­is­ter of the United King­dom, five for­mer NATO Sec­re­taryGen­er­als, a host of Com­mon­wealth lead­ers, for­mer heads of MI5 and MI6, the lead­er­ship of the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion, the Fi­nan­cial Times, and many oth­ers.

Yes, we have to ig­nore all of these au­thor­i­ta­tive voices and we should listen to the ‘pre­tender to the throne’ who has been go­ing around ut­ter­ing inane plat­i­tudes about re­claim­ing Britain’s in­de­pen­dence and ‘tak­ing our coun­try back’. As if this coun­try, by virtue of its mem­ber­ship of the EU, has for­feited its sovereignty and in­de­pen­dence. Noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth. Britain has never given up its in­de­pen­dence. Whether in re­la­tion to for­eign pol­icy, eco­nomic pol­icy, de­fence pol­icy, the United King­dom re­mains com­pletely sov­er­eign in its af­fairs. Britain, of course, is not a mem­ber of the Eu­ro­zone; nor is it within the Schen­gen area, so it main­tains con­trol of its bor­ders.

Mem­ber­ship of the Euro­pean Union does en­tail a pool­ing of sovereignty and shar­ing of power and re­sources in cer­tain ar­eas which are in­her­ent in the col­lab­o­ra­tive na­ture of the Union. But that is the price we have to pay if we want to take ad­van­tage of the sin­gle mar­ket and to con­front transna­tional prob­lems re­quir­ing transna­tional so­lu­tions, whether these re­late to geo-strate­gic chal­lenges, trade, job cre­ation, se­cu­rity and in­tel­li­gence, pub­lic health is­sues, crime, ter­ror­ism,

im­mi­gra­tion, worker and hu­man rights.

We live in a mul­ti­po­lar world in which lever­age and influence are de­fined by a coun­try’s part­ner­ships and al­liances. The con­tention that iso­la­tion­ism, xeno­pho­bia and pulling back from the world is the way for­ward for a coun­try which has, through­out its his­tory, built its power through build­ing bridges and cre­at­ing net­works is ut­terly sense­less and il­log­i­cal. Britain max­imises its lever­age, power and influence as a leader in the Euro­pean Union by sit­ting at the ta­ble and de­ter­min­ing the fu­ture of the con­ti­nent, whose des­tiny it has al­ways shared. Britain will al­ways have more, not less, influence by be­ing at the heart of Europe and not on its pe­riph­ery.

The pool­ing of sovereignty, to the ex­tent that is ap­plies to the United King­dom, is not a zero sum game. The Euro­pean Union is built on the prin­ci­ple of quid pro quo and the ex­change en­tailed by this prin­ci­ple in the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the United King­dom and the Euro­pean Union is man­i­festly in the in­ter­ests of the for­mer.

Bluntly, it means that Britain is stronger, safer and bet­ter off by be­ing a mem­ber of the Euro­pean Union and a lead­ing voice on the con­ti­nent of which it is an in­te­gral part by virtue of ge­og­ra­phy, eco­nom­ics, pol­i­tics, his­tory and cul­ture. Not only does the shar­ing of sovereignty in this in­stance not de­tract from the UK’s influence in the word, it ac­tu­ally mag­ni­fies it. Con­trary to sen­sa­tion­al­ist false­hoods prop­a­gated by the Brexit camp, even in the ar­eas where we have pooled sovereignty with the EU, im­por­tant de­ci­sions are taken unan­i­mously and so the UK holds a veto, for in­stance in re­spect of the ac­ces­sion of new coun­tries such as Turkey.

The United King­dom is a great coun­try and it will sur­vive and even­tu­ally thrive even out­side the EU. But that is not re­ally the ques­tion here. On ev­ery mea­sure of suc­cess in an in­ter­de­pen­dent world, the United King­dom would do bet­ter and not worse by be­ing at the fore­front of Europe.

The Leave cam­paign could have made a ra­tio­nal case for Britain’s exit from the EU which would have en­tailed an ad­mis­sion of the eco­nomic pain which the coun­try would suf­fer upon de­par­ture from the Union, as il­lus­trated by count­less in­de­pen­dent analy­ses.

But when you have the spec­ta­cle of a se­nior mem­ber of the gov­ern­ing party and the Brex­i­teers’ lead­ing light com­par­ing the Euro­pean Union to Hitler and the Third Re­ich and seek­ing to un­der­mine the in­ter­ven­tion of the Pres­i­dent of the United States, which was made in good faith, by ref­er­ence to his half-Kenyan ori­gin, you know that there is some­thing sin­is­ter about the mo­tives of those who are bent on cut­ting the UK adrift from its strate­gic al­liances on the con­ti­nent.

The Euro­pean Union is an im­per­fect in­sti­tu­tion and the Eu­ro­zone is cur­rently fail­ing in its mis­sion. The mis­man­age­ment of the Eu­ro­zone cri­sis has af­fected na­tional

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