What has the EU ever done for us?

Comment by Trish Marchant

I am the-eu done for usabsolutely appalled at the disgusting posters being used by a certain so called political party to spread their toxic rhetoric and promote fear and anger across the Medway Towns. I won’t name them as that, in my mind, gives them a credibility they don’t deserve but I will challenge their outrageous claims with some mythbusting facts:

1. Immigration doesn’t damage the UK, in fact immigrants make up just 10% of our population. And here is a surprising statistic – immigrants contribute 37% more to public finances than the cost of the services they use (from a University of London study).
2. The EU grants direct funding for local projects in the UK, something that our own Medway Council has benefited from in recent years with funding support for its work schemes, IMPRESS (in-work support for unemployed) and GAPS (Graduate and Apprenticeships Training scheme) as well as various partnership projects with other EU countries.
3. The EU isn’t just a bunch of bureaucrats, in fact there is approximately 1 person for every 15,000 residents of the EU, significantly less than the British civil service.
4. Stories suggesting that British numberplates could be axed are utterly untrue. There is no proposal or amendment on the table that would create a standard design for all car number plates in the EU. Nobody has any intention of making such a proposal. In fact the discussions have been around making it easier to transfer vehicles within the EU. This can be a bureaucratic nightmare, as rules for registering cars are often different in each Member State. So simplified rules might for example make life easier for the one million UK citizens living in Spain who might want to export a British car there either permanently or for a large part of the year.
5. For the avoidance of doubt, just as most of the hundreds of thousands of UK pensioners in Spain receive UK pensions, if EU nationals have spent their working lives in other EU countries, those are the ones – and not the UK – that pay for their pensions.

This is just a snippet of the reality of our EU membership, and I haven’t even touched on the fact that as part of the EU the UK can opt out of some aspects and negotiate on others (sadly we opted out of full implementation of the working time directive), and we can help to improve the welfare of residents from new EU member states as they adopt some of the best employment and health and safety laws in the world, and we have had the longest period of peace in Europe for over 2000 years, surely something to treasure more than money?

The poster campaign is being bankrolled by a very rich man who hates the EU but perhaps we need to ask him if he supports any other of that party’s policies or is using it as a vehicle for his own personal crusade?

My last word (for the moment) is that the Green party, while being committed to a united Europe, believes in a reformed EU, democratic and free from corporate control. But just like in your home town we need to be part of the community to make it a better place and create change, you can’t do that if you isolate yourself from your neighbours.

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