EU referendum: remain or leave? Justine Greening MP has her say
The EU referendum debate has been dominated by issues such as the economy, immigration and national security. But Christian Aid wants to ask, is remaining or leaving the EU better for tackling the root causes of poverty? Christian Aid hasn’t taken a position ourselves, but we have produced this reflection piece.
We do take the position that poverty is a scandal, and that we must take decisions mindful of the world’s poor. We encourage everyone to reflect on how their vote might make a difference and to vote wisely on 23 June 2016.
Hear from Justine Greening MP @JustineGreening
Justine Greening is Member of Parliament for Putney, London, and since 2012 has been Secretary of State for International Development.
The 23 June EU referendum will be the most important vote on the future of our country that we are likely to have in our lifetimes. It’s a one-off vote. There’s no re-doing it if we change our minds. We’re all going to have to live with the result, but the younger you are, the more there is at stake.
Like millions of other people in the UK, I’ve never had the chance to vote on this before. I was too young to vote in the last EU referendum in 1975. There are pros and cons whichever direction we take. My view, on balance, is that we are better off staying in the EU. The EU isn’t perfect, but for me it boils down to opportunity and influence.
Opportunity, because by staying in we keep access for our businesses to the level playing field that is the European single market of 500m people, worth £500bn, with all the jobs and opportunities for young people in Britain that come from that. It also means, critically, that we keep our place at the table where the regulations for this massive market are being set.
It’s about influence because if you believe Britain’s voice counts, as I do, then let’s keep it around the EU table. Decisions by the EU will affect us whether we’re in it or not, so let’s not leave it to others to decide, when we can be part of those decisions ourselves. You don’t get to decide the rules of a club by being outside it. So let’s stay in.
Walking away from the EU goes against the grain of what I think our great country stands for. We are the country out there fixing things, not one that retreats into our shell. We are the country that has not only shaped Europe’s response to the Syria humanitarian crisis, but the world’s. It’s never been more important for us to work as partners with other countries to tackle the big global challenges that we face, challenges like poverty, conflict, disease, climate change and mass migration. Those issues will be there whether or not we’re in the EU but, above all, it’s in our interests that there’s a smart EU response to them on our doorstep.
I want to see a Britain that is stronger, safer and better off, by being inside the EU. A country that continues to play a unique role in shaping our continent’s future for the better, just as we have done in the past. A country smart enough to make sure our great companies can compete and succeed by having us stay in the world’s largest trading block, the EU single market. And a Britain that has decided that our next generation’s voice will be heard around the table alongside our neighbours when the big issues that affect us all are debated and decided.
You don’t have to take my word for it. Wherever you look in our society we’ve seen the top people in their field say clearly they are in favour of staying in the EU — the leaders of all the major political parties, trades unions and business organisations, as well as economists, scientists, environmentalists, academics, people in the military and security services, farmers, health workers, actors and artists -the list goes on. Even our international allies like President Obama are advising that we are better off remaining in the EU.
This referendum gives us one vote each. I’d like Britain to stay in the EU, but whatever your own view, make sure it gets counted on 23 June.
Find out more
- What Caroline Lucas MP thinks >
- What James Cleverly MP thinks >
- What the Rev Giles Fraser thinks >
- Christian Aid’s reflection on the EU referendum >
- What Christian Aid do and why >
The EU referendum takes place on Thursday 23 June 2016 and we encourage everyone to reflect on how their vote might make a difference.