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Reasons to stay in the EU

Not sure yet which way you are going to vote in the European Referendum? Here we list the reasons why we believe we should remain part of the EU.

Peace and democracy Enduring hostility between France and Germany erupted in two world wars. The value of their “special relationship” since 1963 is incalculable. In addition, the EU has helped to consolidate democracy in Spain, Portugal, Greece and former Soviet bloc countries.

Trade Around 50% of our exports go to, and about 50% of our imports come from, the EU. As the world’s largest market (its population of 500 million accounts for nearly 20% of world GDP) the EU has the power to negotiate trade agreements with the rest of the world. On our own, we would be insignificant.

Unfair competition The EU has a good record of tackling multi-national firms over unfair competition.

Global influence As a member of the EU, the UK is part of many EU delegations. We would wield little influence on our own.

Environment EU standards have improved the quality of air, rivers and beaches.

Jobs About 3.5m British jobs (one in ten) are directly linked to our membership of the EU and many overseas investors build factories here because of our membership.

Equal pay and non-discrimination Equal pay, and bans on discrimination by age, race or sexual orientation are enshrined in EU law.

Consumer influence The EU has achieved lower charges for mobile-phone roaming and credit cards, and proper compensation for delayed or cancelled flights.

Freedom to work, study and travel At least 1.4m British people live in mainland Europe; in 2012-13 more than 14,500 students took part in the Erasmus exchange scheme; UK driving licences are valid throughout the EU.

Immigration EU immigrants are an enormous benefit to the UK: at an average age of 34 against the native population’s average of 41, most arrive after being educated and are half as likely to receive state benefits or tax credits; since they are working age we don’t pay pensions or much on health costs; and many eventually return home.

Net cost Our net annual contribution is £8.3bn – 0.5% of GDP. It’s a bargain!

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