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Better in than out, please

The EU is one of the most important success stories in modern history. Why pull out of it?

British voters head to the polls today to decide whether to leave or remain in the European Union, a decision that will affect everybody else in Europe, and in particular those of us, like most Spaniards, who believe that sticking together is the best option for all. Unity is surely the only choice: the alternative would provoke tensions within the different regions and countries of the United Kingdom, possibly bringing about its disintegration; at the same time, Brexit would hit the EU hard, again possibly sparking a decline.

But the real reason British voters should vote remain is not because of fear of what might happen if they leave, but because of what a continued UK presence in Europe has meant and will continue to mean: balance and the avoidance of any single nation establishing its hegemony over the continent.

Europe represents globalization with rules, a productive economy and social and territorial cohesion

The EU is not unproblematic, it has its limits and its fault, but it is one of the most important success stories in recent history, as President Obama pointed out in Hannover. In which case, why pull out, why damage it?

In an age of global disorder, a time of worsening inequality and exclusion, Europe represents globalization with rules, a productive economy and social and territorial cohesion. Are there any better goals or any better way to achieve them, albeit in stages, than by working together rather than by breaking up?

Referendums, while a legitimate recourse, are not always the best way to address complex issues. Britain’s parliamentary system has shown that representative democracy has been able to reverse its decisions, something that is not so easy with plebiscites, which tend to inflame passions and lead to simplistic, populist arguments.

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There will be plenty of Europeans on this side of the English Channel today who would like to vote and send out a message of appreciation for British democracy, to warn of the dangers of an isolated United Kingdom subject to xenophobia and authoritarianism, and to strengthen, rather than weaken, our ties. We ask the British to vote in our name. Please.

English version by Nick Lyne.

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