Vote Remain – Let's lead, not leave, the EU
In My Opinion by Joseph Barker
Vote Remain on 23rd June for a positive, stronger and safer future for Gibraltar in the EU.
Britain and Gibraltar are stronger, safer and better off in the EU – stronger with more influence on the world stage to defend Gibraltar's self determination, safer with the European Arrest Warrant and international cooperation against terrorism, and better off with access to a single market of 500 million consumers providing growth and economic opportunity.
By leading in Europe, Britain and Gibraltar can best protect Gibraltar's self determination and national interests at a European level. The Rock’s EU membership has boosted its ability to stand up to Spain, particularly to its attitude towards freedom of movement and border controls. By leaving the EU,we put the safety, prosperity and Gibraltarian way of life at risk.
As a European Parliamentary Candidate, having worked in the European Parliament and having campaigned for Gibraltar's self determination in Britain, Brussels and beyond, I know how vitally important our EU membership is to Gibraltar. By leaving the EU, we risk losing our international influence and the legal constraints on a more hostile approach from Madrid: potentially leading to severe disruption of trade and workers at the border, or even a return to the past policy of a total land blockade. The stakes are too high not to turn up and vote.
Thursday's EU referendum is an existential question for Gibraltar – only by voting Remain can we secure a stronger, safer, more prosperous future for Gibraltar within the EU.
10 reasons to remain in the EU:
- Business – As part of Europe, British businesses have free access to sell to 500 million consumers. If we left the EU, our trade would face tariffs and barriers.
- Employment – Independent experts have found that over 3 million jobs in Britain are linked to our trade with Europe.
- Families – A strong economy means households are better off in Europe. If Britain were to leave Europe, the hit to the economy would be equivalent to £4,300 for each household.
- Economy – Being in the EU means a stronger economy, which means more investment in public services. Leaving would mean spending cuts of £36bn.
- Exports – 44% of the UK’s international exports are to EU countries, worth £229 billion in 2014
- Investment - Between
- Investment – Between 2004 and 2014, the average investment from European countries every year was £24.1 billion - that’s over £66 million a day in investment from Europe.
- Travel – Freedom of movement allows EU citizens the right to live and work across Europe, and protects Gibraltarians' rights to cross the border with Spain.
- Education – Over 200,000 UK students have spent time abroad on the Erasmus exchange programme. Students who have undertaken placements on the Erasmus programme are more likely to benefit from increased employment opportunity than their counterparts.
- Workers’ Rights – Protected by EU legislation, including entitlements to paid holiday of at least four weeks a year, maximum working hours, anti-discrimination laws and statutory paid maternity and paternity leave.
- Security – Our access to the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) has meant over 1,100 suspected criminals have been arrested in the EU and returned to Britain to face justice. Also under the European Arrest Warrant, Britain has sent 7,400 suspected criminals who had fled here back to the EU.
Gibraltar and Britain are stronger, safe and better off in a reformed European Union.
To those who say that Gibraltar's votes do not matter, I say that every vote counts. We remember how at the last European election, Sir Graham Watson (a champion of Gibraltar) lost his seat by fewer than 5,000 votes and how more than 5,000 Gibraltarians did not vote in that election. Whilst Gibraltar is a small percentage of the overall UK electorate, it is nonetheless important - and, given how close this referendum is predicted to be, these votes could make all the difference.
Gibraltar expects every man to do his duty and vote in Thursday's referendum - every vote will count in this historic poll.
Let us lead, not leave, the EU – Vote Remain this Thursday.
Joseph Barker, a European Parliamentary Candidate in the 2014 European elections, is visiting Gibraltar to campaign with Remain.