EUROPE: Cash flow not just one way

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In view of the fact that we are fast approaching a referendum on whether to remain a partner in the governing of Europe, and given that most people are undecided in whether we should stay or go, isn’t it time that we had a serious, long-term debate, possibly through your columns, so that we can be better informed?

Many people believe that being in the EU is too expensive and that money sent to the EU could be better spent at home. However, the real picture is obviously much more complicated.

Wouldn’t it be a useful exercise to show on a simple graph what goes into the pot and what comes back to us in the form of grants for major projects? The cash doesn’t just flow one way.

It would also be a useful exercise to indicate how many British people work in EU countries, including Ireland, and the possible cost of repatriating those hundreds of thousands of Brits back to the UK when they lose the right to work in the EU.

We rely on many hundreds of thousands of EU citizens who work and help shore up our very diverse job scene. If they no longer had a right to work in the UK, many companies and government bodies would lose a lot of the expertise that they bring.

We should take pride in the fact that we are helping to make lives better for our less well-off partners in the distant corners of Europe, such as Poland, and now Romania and Bulgaria, where they are able to improve their infrastructure and standard of living.

If we make the Eastern parts of the EU more affluent and aspirational, it will mean that people in those areas will be less likely to migrate to the Western states of the EU.

Being a partner in the EU also strengthens our position in NATO and Europe, and makes it less likely for an aggressive power to encroach our borders. United we stand.

Being an EU partner means we can trade there more easily. Exports to the EU countries are worth many billions to UK countries every year.

I am one of the sceptics of the EU when it comes to the bureaucracy, which I believe should be simplified.

I also believe that we should fix the location of the Parliament of the EU instead of moving it between countries. Leave it in Strasbourg.

We can still be British and European at the same time. I would vote to remain in the EU.

Bruce Hewison MBE,

Alnwick