Benefits of EU are there for all to see

Readers' letters | Published:

For 70 years we Europeans have been blessed with peace and prosperity whilst in a world disfigured by conflict, tyrannical dictatorships and disease.

For centuries our earlier history was one of constant and savage battles. The 80th anniversary this year of the outbreak of the Second World War reminds us of how recent our current peace is. We should not take this for granted.

From the ashes of that apocalyptic global catastrophe, initiated in Europe, came the impulse to replace conflict with cooperation, so that we should never have to endure what our parents and grandparents did. My father spent six years of the war overseas in the British army only to return to a war-starved Britain to struggle to pick up the threads of his career in 1945.

Today millions of Britons live in mainland Europe: millions travel to work, study, drive and have holidays free of red tape in the form of visas and ‘green cards’, with easy access to health care and the comprehensive transport networks such as the Channel Tunnel and Eurostar which have all come about since membership of the European Union.

I have no illusions about the challenges facing the European Union, the migrant crisis of recent years was not well handled, there being little consensus at EU level as to what should have been done. However, what must be stated is that the EU has been an overwhelming success story economically since it was formed. This should be celebrated as it has led to a generally very prosperous United Kingdom.

In today’s world there are so many problems which have no respect for national boundaries, so together and within the EU we tackle continent-wide organised crime, we take continent-wide initiatives to support the environment, we support a continent-wide system of healthcare.

The markets for Shropshire produce are now very European. Very high percentages of both Shropshire-reared lamb and beef are exported to the EU and post-Brexit will bear a substantial tariff and other export requirements. If you happen to cycle round industrial estates in the county you will note a majority of occupiers are of non-UK origin, but happy to invest and provide jobs in Shropshire.

Let’s keep it that way and remain in the European Union.

Dr Graham Tate, Shrewsbury

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