“Unity for the Greater Good”: What the EU Means to Me

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My name is Maddy, and I voted to remain in the EU.

When asked what the EU means to me it is quite hard to describe. For one, I have never even considered myself to be ‘British’, even though the UK is my place of birth. The reason why? Well, I spent 5 years in France and through that I learnt their language, culture, and customs. I went to a French school where I experienced no discrimination, despite not being a native, and integrated well into French society. This is what the EU means to me, it means peace, harmony, acceptance of peoples no matter what nationality, and above all it meant unity for the greater good. I am dismayed that I may end up losing my EU passport, as that is something that I cherish more than anything in the world, as it means a loss of my identity.

Yes, the EU had its flaws, but it gave me the chance to experience and live within another culture, and the pleasure of being accepted into another society. I worry now that the UK will become isolated, and what the implications of this vote will be for future generations within this country. As I have explained, the vote has made me consider who I truly am, and I have come to decide that I am not ‘British’, but ‘European’ and a ‘citizen of the world’. This realisation was only made possible because of the EU’s laws on freedom of movement. If this is to be revoked because of the Brexit vote, this will be a massive regression in terms of cultural development.

The EU has provided us in the UK with glimpses into other countries’ cultures, lifestyles, and customs, whilst also increasing acceptance of other nationalities and developing our own unique identity on the continent. I am thankful for the EU because I got the chance to experience unity in its finest forms, human unity not national unity. I respect the vote of the referendum and do accept some of the leavers’ arguments, but I can’t help but feel it would be a massive shame to give up not only the EU, but the freedom of movement for all people, as this is what truly makes us British- a mix of all cultures.

The EU to me represents unity and acceptance for all, and I hope that the country leaving will not mean others are unable to experience this. Once I have finished my degree, I plan to leave the UK, as I am finding my European passport harder to give up than my supposed ‘British’ nationality.

 

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I am a second year Modern History and Politics student.

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