European Youth Parliament UK 2016-05-30T22:21:01Z http://www.eypuk.co.uk/feed/atom/ Toni Kerridge <![CDATA[EYPUK Alumni Association Executive Election 2016]]> http://www.eypuk.co.uk/?p=4235 2016-05-30T22:21:01Z 2016-05-30T22:19:30Z Dear EYPUK Alumni, We have come to the time of year where the Alumni Association Executive Elections are now taking place. They have been brought forward earlier this year in order to aid a more thorough hand over process, so that all members of the new AA Executive have a good starting basis for September. […]

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Dear EYPUK Alumni,

We have come to the time of year where the Alumni Association Executive Elections are now taking place. They have been brought forward earlier this year in order to aid a more thorough hand over process, so that all members of the new AA Executive have a good starting basis for September.

We have had a brilliant year, with our very first (and very successful) EYPUK Alumni Training Weekend taking place, alongside the fantastic and expanding Regional, National and EurVoice events. I have no doubt that next year will be even bigger and better and can’t wait to see what it has in store!

The AA Executive is elected by the wider Alumni Body to represent them, and ensure that EYPUK’s events and projects run smoothly and involve as many alumni as possible.

They are lead by the President, and have close contact with their respective advisors on the Board of Trustees too.

Holding a position on the EYPUK AA Executive is a great opportunity to be involved in EYPUK, as well as being a very enjoyable and fulfilling year too!

There are currently seven positions open:

Please the read the roles to see what they entail, and if you have any questions then please contact the relevant person on the role description and they will be more than happy to help.

If each candidate who would like to run for a position on the AA Exec could please submit a manifesto by 12th June, then the candidates will be announced after this and their manifesto published.

Some ideas to include in your manifesto would be:

  • What is your motivation to run for that particular role?
  • What skills or qualities would you bring to that role?
  • What would your aims be for the year?
  • How would do you plan to achieve your aims?

Following the submission of the manifestos, they will be published on the EYPUK website and a campaigning period will then begin where there will then be an opportunity for all alumni to ask questions to the candidates. Following this, there will be a voting period before the results are announced.

I am really excited to see all the candidate’s manifestos and I wish the best of luck to everyone standing in the elections!

If you have any questions then please feel free to get in touch!

Best wishes,

Alexandra Entwistle – Thompson

EYPUK Alumni Executive President 2015-2016

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Toni Kerridge <![CDATA[Brexit ‘In’ or ‘out’: a flawed debate]]> http://www.eypuk.co.uk/?p=4229 2016-05-25T22:37:03Z 2016-05-25T22:37:03Z by Harry Eaton This summer’s EU referendum has been advertised as a future-defining event. Both Britain Stronger in Europe and Leave Now have outlined their visions for the UK, and we, its citizens, are set to choose which of these is more appealing. These two campaigns argue their respective cases, backed up by a wealth of […]

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by Harry Eaton

This summer’s EU referendum has been advertised as a future-defining event. Both Britain Stronger in Europe and Leave Now have outlined their visions for the UK, and we, its citizens, are set to choose which of these is more appealing.

These two campaigns argue their respective cases, backed up by a wealth of numbers and claims, but what is worrying for the population is the conflicting statements of “fact”. In a referendum deemed to be of vital importance to the UK’s future by anyone in the know, why do these two campaigns present us with twisted truths, and how therefore are we voters meant to choose between the two?

“We negotiate a new UK-EU deal based on free trade and friendly cooperation. We end the supremacy of EU law. We regain control”, writes Vote Leave in the overview of it’s website‑brochure, ‘Vote Leave, Take Control’, a sentiment plainly counteracted by Will Straw, the leader of the ‘in’ campaign, with the line: “It is clearer than ever: if we vote leave, we lose control”. But it’s not clear, is it Mr Straw? Vote Leave claims the complete opposite of what your campaign does.

The assuredness of both camps that they are “correct”, that their vision of Europe is based on fact, is symbolic of this debate, or rather these campaigns of scaremongering and accusations, for there is very little real debate. When we break down both sides’ arguments, we can see how selective and manipulating they really are.

The question of free trade is central to both Britain Stronger in Europe and Vote Leave, perhaps considered by both to be the most benefitial part of european union. Yet we see from their arguments on the subject that their future visions for the UK are based on half‑truths and even complete lies.

Will Straw’s attempt to poke a hole in the ‘out’ campaign’s proposal of a UK-EU trade deal, claiming that “any of the alternatives would be hard to negotiate”, is bordering on unfounded. If a country as small as Liechtenstein is able to join the EFTA, the UK would undoubtably be able to do likewise given it boasts one of the world’s leading economies.

However, this does not make the claims of the ‘out’ campaign to be any more valid, simply invalidating those of Britain Stronger in Europe.

Vote Leave too is hugely limited by its own fallacies. The claim that the UK “will have no vote at the World Trade Organisation to influence world trade negotiations” should we remain in the EU, is a ruthless attempt to scare people into voting ‘out’. In fact, all 28 EU member states are WTO members in their own right.

It must be noted however that both Britain Stronger in Europe and Leave Now are not without valid arguments, and it is these that should be the central focus of the membership debate.

The ‘in’ campaign rightly points out that if the UK were to leave the EU, it would have to adopt certain EU legislation in order to have a free trade agreement, but would no longer have a say in its creation. As many Eurosceptics wish to break away from European bureaucracy, which they consider to be too powerful, this fact is all the more pertinent.

Yet this is not a one-sided debate, as Leave Now underlines that Eurozone countries have a majority when qualified majority voting is used, meaning that the UK might still have no say on trade policy even if it remains a member.

It is these sorts of issues which should be integral to the in-out debate, as both campaigns present some well-founded but opposing issues which will need to be resolved post‑referendum, whether we vote to stay or to leave.

What is clear is that some elements of the EU work for the UK and some don’t. The referendum in June is thus a vote to decide how best to manage the country’s relationship with the EU. Vote Leave says “we need a new European institutional architecture”, and many pro‑Europeans, myself included, would agree with this statement.

The EU is by no means perfect but the foundations are already in place, what is needed is reform, and the UK can’t be a leading part of this without being a member.

The problem with this in-out referendum is that we’re missing out on an informed debate, one which could truly help to create a vision of a reformed Europe. The country is being divided rather than brought together as a result of both sides’ manipulation, scaremongering and lies. We voters deserve more respect than the campaigns are showing us. A real debate needs to take place to allow us to find a middle ground which would bring benefits to us all.

Harry is a third-year French Studies student at the University of Warwick, with a strong interest in European politics. He believes in cooperation in politics, whether that be on an international scale or a national one, and would label himself a pro-European who favours reform of the EU towards an intergovernmental system.

Disclaimer: All views expressed are the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of EYPUK.

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Toni Kerridge <![CDATA[Our fixation on sovereignty will also be our downfall]]> http://www.eypuk.co.uk/?p=4225 2016-05-19T11:57:35Z 2016-05-19T11:57:35Z Reassessing our relationship with the EU has provided an opportunity for the various, populist narratives to emerge, which frame the arguments in such simplistic terms that leaves me wondering why we don’t settle this referendum with an arm wrestle.  The debate has become so polarised to the point where if you aren’t seen forming a […]

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Reassessing our relationship with the EU has provided an opportunity for the various, populist narratives to emerge, which frame the arguments in such simplistic terms that leaves me wondering why we don’t settle this referendum with an arm wrestle.  The debate has become so polarised to the point where if you aren’t seen forming a human wall around the European Parliament in Strasbourg, you must be queueing to purchase one of those jazzy ‘Go’ ties from Peter Bone MP…Yet, putting aside the bitesize – somewhat pathetic – Question Time style debates on this topic (where every audience member claps after every response), we can really start to explore the key issues associated with our membership to the European Union and establish an environment for critical thinking.

Britain’s exit from the EU would have dire consequences for those living here.  Whilst the EU should be rightly criticised for many issues – for example, it’s support for neoliberal capitalism (…we are witnessing a growing incapability of the ruling elite) and inadequacy to implement strategies to protect the lives of refugees entering Europe (…the notion of humanitarianism is dependent upon the perceived negative impact of refugees on indigenous people’s construction of how the world should function) – our life chances, especially for those socially oppressed within society, would certainly not improve if we were to leave. This is not to say that by remaining in the EU we can confidently predict that our rights would be upheld and that our exclusion and marginalisation will be tackled, rather, by remaining, we can continue to utilise existing EU frameworks and directives to continually challenge our state and the power it exerts.

In my view, and very much at a surface level, there are two key areas that need highlighting within this debate: the dangerous consequences of sovereign power and how we influence the future purpose of the EU…

We are witnessing the incremental steps to dismantle and destroy the various support systems that marginalised people rely upon in order to exist within current political, economic and civil society; any resistance – by individuals, their organisations and allies – is oppressed and the state attempts to justify their actions by using the austerity narrative.  If we are to leave the EU then we risk silencing a powerful body who could – through sustained grassroots pressure and continuous diplomatic dialogue – challenge and highlight the damage caused by current government ideology. We continuously draw attention to the social injustice encountered by many and yet the state questions the legitimacy of our claims and criticises our actions; so without the involvement of the EU we isolate ourselves, leaving the state to alter the parameters of what we mean by ‘justice’. The role of government, and current decision-makers, is not to create the definition of justice through unchallenged processes but to enforce and implement the concept of justice which we choose to adopt.  My fear is that this fetishism towards UK sovereignty will undoubtedly lead to the state imposing a concept of justice that reinforces and validates their actions, which will continue to oppress many groups and we – the people living here – become or remain voiceless, with reduced support from our European neighbours. Many will argue that the EU is complacent in tackling the social injustice within many member states and I would agree with their analysis; however, if we are isolated from our supporters in Europe then our resistance towards the state is merely interpreted as disobedience.

I am reminded of a quote from Slavoj Zizek’s ‘Trouble in Paradise: from the End of History to the End of Capitalism’, “The idea is that, in a complex economic situation like today’s, the majority of the people are not qualified to decide – they just want to keep their privileges intact, unaware of the catastrophic consequences which would ensue if their demands were to be met.” Unfortunately, I feel that this applies to a significant amount of parliamentarians and ‘average citizen on the street’ who have expressed their view on our membership to the EU…

Our advancements in social inclusion rely upon those who identify as part of a movement for change and recognise the opportunity to use existing EU structures and frameworks to tackle inequality. Similarly, those who vote to leave the EU will need to acknowledge that, within this context, they are taking on the role of the oppressor.

Miro Griffiths MBE is a PhD researcher and teacher at Liverpool John Moores University; his research interests are disability studies, political ideology and ethics.

Disclaimer: the views expressed in EYPUK blog post are the views of the individual writer and not those of EYPUK.

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Toni Kerridge <![CDATA[Derek Vaughan MEP – the case for staying in the EU]]> http://www.eypuk.co.uk/?p=4218 2016-05-10T16:38:48Z 2016-05-10T11:29:54Z by Derek Vaughan MEP The upcoming European referendum is, without a shadow of a doubt, the biggest political event of this decade, perhaps even of our entire lives. The choice we make in this referendum will say a lot about who we are in Britain, are we ready to sit at the top table of […]

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by Derek Vaughan MEP

The upcoming European referendum is, without a shadow of a doubt, the biggest political event of this decade, perhaps even of our entire lives. The choice we make in this referendum will say a lot about who we are in Britain, are we ready to sit at the top table of European table, helping other countries in European and being helped in return, or are we a country that is ready to walk away from our neighbours at the drop of a hat?

The case to remain is very simple, the E.U. is good for the U.K. as a country and good for us as individuals. We get free trade with our neighbours that helps produce jobs and growth, and we get protections for our basic rights at work that which might be taken away if we left. Those campaigning to leave suggest that by no longer being in the E.U. we can save money and still get all of the benefits. This is similar to suggesting that by cancelling your gym membership you could not only still get in, but build a completely separate gym. Their case simply does not stack up, they can’t even tell anyone what an Out would look like. They have contradicted themselves on whether we would aim to be like Norway and Switzerland. Sometimes they say we are aiming to be on the same model and sometimes they say we’re not going to be like them at all.  They’re tying themselves in knots because they know that neither of these countries gets a particularly good deal, but present the only realistic alternative to E.U. membership.

Norway and Switzerland have to pay to access the single market; if Britain paid on the same basis as Norway we would pay in £6.6 billion and get a lot less out of it, my constituency, Wales, would go from getting £838 million to paying in £320 million. We would still be paying in but we would get us a lot less out. To get our goods accepted into the EU we would have to play by the EU’s rules, but instead of getting a say we would be locked out of the room and would just have to put up and shut up. A former foreign minister of Norway Borge Brende has publically pointed out what a bad deal this is for Norway and how it hurts their interests.

The situation would also be worse for us as individuals. There would be fewer rights for people at work, no right to paid holidays, sick pay and breaks; while we are in the E.U. the Government cannot take away these rights. The EU has also done a lot for young people specifically. In particular there is the Erasmus+ programme. Across Europe this programme will provide 25,000 places on Joint Masters Programmes as well as student exchanges between universities. 800,000 staff across Europe will also be given access to greater training and 650,000 extra vocational traineeships or apprentices in Europe.

Leaving the E.U. would directly hit the job prospects of young people. The E.U. backs projects that help young people into work. Just this year in my own constituency Job Growths Wales was backed by E.U. funding, this program has created 15,000 jobs for young people. We wouldn’t get these opportunities if we were outside the E.U. So whenever anyone tells us we are better off out, remember, they can’t tell us where they want to go and they are gambling with your future.

 

Derek was elected as a Labour MEP for Wales in June 2009 and re-elected for a second term in 2014.

He is first Vice Chair of the European Parliament’s Budgetary Control (CONT) committee. He is also a full member on the Regional Development (REGI) committee and the Delegation for relations with Australia and New Zealand.

 

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Toni Kerridge <![CDATA[EYPUK Autumn National Session 2016: Call for Officials]]> http://www.eypuk.co.uk/?p=4214 2016-04-29T17:10:37Z 2016-04-29T17:10:37Z It is our greatest pleasure to announce the Call for Officials for EYPUK’s Autumn National Session 2016. The session will take place in Liverpool from 7-11 September 2016 under the theme ‘Exploring Diversity and Reshaping European Identities’. We are now looking for 2 Vice-Presidents, 1-2 Editors, 10 Chairpersons and 1 Juror. The call for Media Team […]

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It is our greatest pleasure to announce the Call for Officials for EYPUK’s Autumn National Session 2016. The session will take place in Liverpool from 7-11 September 2016 under the theme ‘Exploring Diversity and Reshaping European Identities’.

We are now looking for 2 Vice-Presidents, 1-2 Editors, 10 Chairpersons and 1 Juror. The call for Media Team Members will be released at a later stage.

Officials are asked to arrive at the session on the 6th of September 2016 at 13:00 GMT, at Liverpool Hope Creative Campus. There is no participation fee for officials, however participants are asked to cover their own travel  costs to and from the session.

The Head Organisers of the session are Ali Amjad and Anthony McKee, and the session will be Presided by Dan Brown (UK). You can apply by filling in the application form, available to download from eypuk.co.uk.

Applications can be sent to apply@eypuk.co.uk until 23:59 GMT on Sunday 15th May 2016. Applications must be sent in PDF file format, other formats will not be accepted. Late applications will not be
considered.

We look forward to receiving your applications for EYPUK’s Autumn National Session of 2016.

Application form Autumn National Session 2016

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Toni Kerridge <![CDATA[Attempting to forecast the EU referendum: the undecideds will shape the result]]> http://www.eypuk.co.uk/?p=4209 2016-04-28T21:30:25Z 2016-04-28T21:30:25Z By Ollie Niddrie 51-49, 40-45-15, 55-45. Every few days a new set of opinion polling results are released from one of many pollsters but how predictive are they at this stage and how much can we rely on them to tell us what Britain we’ll be waking up to on Friday 24th June; David and […]

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By Ollie Niddrie

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51-49, 40-45-15, 55-45. Every few days a new set of opinion polling results are released from one of many pollsters but how predictive are they at this stage and how much can we rely on them to tell us what Britain we’ll be waking up to on Friday 24th June; David and Angela’s or Boris and Nigel’s?

The standard opinion poll samples 1000-2000 people asking them a broad set of questions about their background and their voting intentions for the upcoming referendum. The exact methodology differs slightly but the pollsters generally produce results detailing the proportion of ‘Remain, ‘Leave’ and ‘Undecided’ voters. They take their sample results and weight them based on the gender, age, socioeconomic group etc. of respondents and the expected levels of turnout for each group on polling day.

But we’re still over a months out from polling day, how predictive can these forecasts be? How politicians feel about polls generally depends whether they’re leading in them or not, but to judge their usefulness at this stage the recent Scottish independence referendum is a convenient point of comparison. The vast majority of opinion polls showed the “No” (remain a part of the UK) vote having a clear lead all the way through the race and did a pretty good job of predicting the eventual 10.6% margin. In some ways this is a thumbs up for the usefulness of opinion polling but in other ways it gives a bit more of a hesitation for its usage in the EU referendum. The much tighter nature of this vote means that it is much harder to predict and therefore the pollster’s models need to be a lot better. The 2015 general election showed what can happen when pollsters get their models wrong, with most forecasting that Labour and the Conservatives would be neck and neck.

But let’s say the polls have been right, most have been centred around 45-40-15 so can we use this forecast to do some forecasting of our own and predict the result? That 15% of undecided voters is the problem, with still two months to go this group is likely to flip-flop with some making up their minds, some voters switching sides and previously decided voters becoming unsure. An issue with drawing analysis from opinion polling is that these numbers aren’t hard statistics, the social science side comes through as we can’t tell how well defined the categories are. They don’t have hard edges as every voter is at a different point along the spectrum of Remain or Leave. Better polling with more categories could help break down the population more clearly; for example certain remain, uncertain remain, undecided, uncertain leave, certain leave.

Also on my wish list to be sent to the pollsters would be a request for increased usage of panel data, showing how individual voter’s opinions evolve over time. A set group of people are asked questions over time to gauge this. Some “analysts” might look at a 2% shift from one poll to the next and call this a swing in momentum, the tides are turning and the referendum is decided. The truth is that one sample of 1000 people will always produce different results to another sample of 1000 completely different people. The random nature of polls means that we can’t take changes between polls as a movement in public opinion as these changes aren’t even changes at all, with each poll asking a different set of people how they’ll be voting. Panel data gets round this problem but it is a lot more expensive and time consuming to collect, meaning that large scale surveys rarely take place.

All hope for more accurate polling is not lost however. Aggregation polls can provide a much better measure of public opinion. They are pretty self-explanatory -a poll of polls; averaging out a number of recent polls, sometimes weighting them on reliability, insulating against the volatile nature of individual results. The best of these for the EU referendum is published by whatukthinks.org and at the time of writing is tied at 50-50. The Leave vote has never been ahead on this metric so it’ll be interesting to look over the next few days if this remains the case with an increasing number of polls putting it a few points up.

The proportion of undecided voters is about where it was for the Scottish referendum, and that’s why if I had to put money on the result, I’d probably look at a Remain vote. I would argue that if a person was uninspired by either campaign and not leaning either way, on election day they’d be more likely to vote Remain as it’s probably the safer option, sticking with what they know. In Economics people are often assumed to be risk averse and that’s an assumption I’ll carry over here.

Remain or Leave? It’s far too early to tell but the destination of the currently undecided voters will shape the referendum. With neither campaign seeming to have much momentum I’d expect this number to stay up above 15% for the foreseeable future. This is potentially a bad sign for the Leave campaign if voters become uneasy about an uncertain future outside the European Union.

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Toni Kerridge <![CDATA[The EU referendum and human trafficking: the ones we forgot]]> http://www.eypuk.co.uk/?p=4203 2016-04-28T07:33:15Z 2016-04-28T07:28:02Z What does the EU referendum mean for the victims of modern slavery? by Chloe Baxendale After being forced into marriage at the age of 18 to a man she had never met, Blerina’s life descended from lonely and frustrating under the close watch of her parents, into a nightmare. Her husband was violent and abusive […]

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What does the EU referendum mean for the victims of modern slavery?

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by Chloe Baxendale

After being forced into marriage at the age of 18 to a man she had never met, Blerina’s life descended from lonely and frustrating under the close watch of her parents, into a nightmare. Her husband was violent and abusive towards her, frequently gambled away their income, and prevented her from seeing friends. When she confided in her mother, she was told she must stay and repair their marriage. One year on, she met Arben when he approached her at the coffee shop where she worked. He began to visit her at her workplace daily, and Blerina was flattered by his charm and enthralled by his tales of his travels. She fell in love with Arben, and confided in him about the problems in her marriage. He asked her to run away with him to seek a better life in Europe, where they could be together and she would have a successful career. He arranged her travel to the UK, however on arrival she discovered that the dream she was promised was far from reality. Blerina was taken to a terraced house and locked in an upstairs bedroom. She was beaten and raped by Arben and 3 other men, and told that if she did not follow their orders she would be killed. Up to 10 men were brought to her each day and she was forced to have sex with them. She did not receive any payment and was not allowed to leave the house in the 2 years that she was held here. Eventually, she managed to escape.

Naturally, in debates on the EU we speak out about the effects on us and the people we know; will less immigration make it easier to get a job or will a drop in trade and investment in the UK make it harder? Will your grandparents who retired to Spain still get their full pension and will you still be able to au pair in France this summer or study for your masters in Denmark? What will it mean for the business you’re starting to build or your parental rights when you plan to start a family? It’s easy to forget about the impact on those we may not see, and who do not have the booming voice of the mainstream media to speak up for them. Human trafficking is the second largest organised crime in the world and is increasing rapidly in the UK- or at least, it’s finally being uncovered, with a 40% increase in the number of victims identified in 2015 compared to 2014. With ever increasing awareness, it’s expected that this figure will continue to rise. So what does this have to do with the EU?

Thanks to EU legislation when Blerina escaped and was identified as a potential victim of trafficking, she was offered support from an NGO, where she was allocated a support worker who specialised in working with trafficking victims. The funding for this support is provided by the Ministry of Justice under Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (ECAT) and has been in place since 2009 when the convention entered into force in the UK. The support package Blerina received was built around the ECAT entitlements;

  • Standards of living capable of ensuring their subsistence- Blerina was provided with financial support, secure accommodation in a refuge for trafficked women and psychological support.
  • Access to emergency medical treatment- Blerina was supported by her worker to attend a GU clinic for a sexual health check and pregnancy testing. She was supported to access medical and dental care.
  • Translation and interpretation services- Blerina was given a choice of a telephone or face-to-face interpretation for appointments and was supported to access interpreters at external appointments, such as contact with the home office, through her support worker.
  • Access to information, in particular as regards their legal rights and the services available to them- Blerina’s support worker had a specialist knowledge of trafficking and could talk through Blerina’s options with her including criminal and civil actions against her traffickers, and the options for her future such as applying for asylum in the UK or the support available if she wanted to return to her home country. She was supported to access a solicitor and put in touch with other specialist services who could offer support.

In March 2015 The Modern Slavery Act introduced by Theresa May became UK law. The bill consolidated existing offences relating to trafficking and slavery; introduced an anti-slavery commissioner- a role taken on by a former met police officer- with a focus on strengthening the law enforcement response to trafficking; and introduced civil orders for those suspected or convicted of trafficking offences. The law is, in the words of Anthony Steen, chair of the Human Trafficking Foundation “wholly and exclusively about law enforcement” and not “victim-based”.

In fact, there is currently no UK law which makes provisions for the support of victims of trafficking (although it is a signatory to the UN Palermo protocols). It has been suggested that the public perception of victims of trafficking as immigrants (which while not all, many are) lead to fears that incorporating the measures enshrined in EU law which provide support and a recovery period for victims would be too unpopular with the British public. Given how recently the UK legislation was introduced it’s unlikely this issue will find itself back at the forefront of the government’s agenda any time soon. So what does this mean for victims like Blerina? According to The Snowdop Project, a UK-based NGO who provide ongoing support for victims, those who do not receive adequate support “developed debt problems, existing mental health issues were compounded by stress, anxiety and isolation, some survivors returned to unhealthy coping mechanisms and others became vulnerable to abusive relationships and re-exploitation”. These are becoming very real possibilities, as those who find themselves in Blerina’s shoes after this June, could be reliant on the very limited protections afforded to them by May’s Modern Slavery Bill.

Chloe Baxendale is a social worker who specialises in providing support for victims of trafficking and domestic abuse. She occasionally writes on politics and social justice issues.

 

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Toni Kerridge <![CDATA[Immigration not invasion: assessing the real impact of EU immigration]]> http://www.eypuk.co.uk/?p=4197 2016-04-21T08:04:31Z 2016-04-21T07:48:38Z by Rachael Stanton   Whilst the European Union has never really been embraced in Britain in the same way as other member states, there has been a noticeable decline in support for the EU in recent years. The increase in support of UKIP particularly was seen as clear demonstration of the growing euro-scepticism and sparked […]

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by Rachael Stanton

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Whilst the European Union has never really been embraced in Britain in the same way as other member states, there has been a noticeable decline in support for the EU in recent years. The increase in support of UKIP particularly was seen as clear demonstration of the growing euro-scepticism and sparked conversation on the need for a referendum on Britain’s EU membership. A key topic in this debate is the growing concern of immigration, particularly after the enlargement of the European Union. As the date of the referendum grows closer, assessing the real impact of this immigration becomes increasingly important.

Concerns about immigration are hardly new in the United Kingdom, however partly due to the change in demographics there has been a steady increase in recent years. Since the enlargement of the European Union, there was an increasing feeling that free movement was no longer equally beneficial for Britain’s and other Europeans. Is this immigration really at detriment to Britain, economically or otherwise?

Economically speaking, a rise in immigration is likely to raise output because it creates more government spending, generated by the higher tax take through more people working. Of course there are other factors to consider which would alter the cost, such as if the increase in immigration would increase native unemployment or reduce wages for instance. The effects on the labour market are in fact different dependent on the type of European migrant. Migrants from the A8 countries, despite having higher education levels, generally find jobs in low skill low pay work due to having less marketable skills in the UK job market. Western immigrants in contrast generally find work in highly skilled jobs. There is no evidence to suggest that A8 immigrants have a negative effect on the employment rate or wages of the British people. Though there has been much less attention paid to the effect of Western European immigrants due to the inflow being more slow and steady, it has led to a higher number of highly skilled workers which will result in higher productivity, leading to increased output and improving the UK’s GDP. Regarding the effect on the British workers, studies suggest that these migrants are actually more likely to compliment British workers rather than substitute them, contrary to the “they are stealing our jobs” sensationalist headlines may suggest.

The demographic change is also significant when considering the pro’s and con’s of European immigration. Improvements in technology have resulted in a change in demand of work, increasing the number of jobs at both the upper and also lower end of the skill set. The increase in job availability in these areas has in fact propelled the demand for immigrants from the EU to fill these new job gaps. There is little to suggest this demand will change any time soon. In fact, considering the demographic change it is more likely to increase. The demand for immigrants to fill these gaps will not only increase but will become essential for the functioning of these sectors and also for the British economy.

Of course, the impact of immigration is not limited to economic effects but also the cultural impact on British society. One way we can try and look at the cultural impact of increasing immigration is by looking at public opinion in the UK towards immigrants. Interestingly, in the UK concern about migration is in fact applicable to EU and non-EU migration with not much distinction. In 2014, Transatlantic Trend conducted a survey on concerns about levels of immigration from within and outside of the EU across 13 European countries. Whilst some countries such as Italy, France and Greece were predominantly concerned about immigration from non-European countries, the UK had roughly similar levels of concern regarding both. These surveys also indicate that people in the UK perceive the cost of migrants (with the exception of students) massively outweighing the benefits.

Opposition to migration stems not from negative experiences or concerns about the local areas, but instead concerns about the country as a whole. Few people would identify migrants as causing a problem in their own neighbourhood. In fact, the BSA found a correlation between those who live in London and have migrant friends and the view that migration has a positive impact on Britain (economically and culturally). Although there are concerns about the European Union stemming from the effects of immigration, it seems that these are in fact overemphasised. Whilst there may be concern about immigration generally, this is not caused by negative experience or concern regarding their local area, calling into question the role of the media in creating this skewed perception of immigration.

Rachael is a Politics and Human Rights student at the University of Essex currently on exchange in Hong Kong. She is a keen writer, particularly about political issues. 

 

 

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Toni Kerridge <![CDATA[Freedom of movement – the cornerstone of the EU]]> http://www.eypuk.co.uk/?p=4193 2016-04-19T06:34:55Z 2016-04-19T06:34:55Z by Aidan Reid As a member of the European Union (EU), the UK is signed up to one of its founding principles, ‘Freedom of Movement’, and more specifically the ‘free movement of labour’. This principle holds that every citizen of the EU can choose to visit and to work in other EU nations. Instead of […]

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by Aidan Reid

As a member of the European Union (EU), the UK is signed up to one of its founding principles, ‘Freedom of Movement’, and more specifically the ‘free movement of labour’. This principle holds that every citizen of the EU can choose to visit and to work in other EU nations. Instead of having to go through applying for visas or competing with others for citizenship ‘green cards’, which is what countries such as the United States or India require of UK citizens, you or I could feasibly travel tomorrow to Berlin or Stockholm and try to seek employment there with a minimum of red tape or fuss.

Such a principle can be seen as the cornerstone of the EU itself. It is almost universally viewed as the defining characteristic of the EU by member nations citizens. Its potency can be attributed in part to its simplicity. Unlike many EU rules and regulations, in principle and practice ‘freedom of movement’ is universal to all citizens of the EU. It also has a visible and tangible impact upon people’s lives in ways regulations on the environment or business practices do not. The ability to move within the EU without restriction, and to seek employment within it, eases the process by which people can visit other countries and experience their cultures, and opens up new job markets for them.

The perception that people may well be given by political debate in the UK, though, is that we are one of the few nations for whom this principle is not a positive one. The argument against freedom of movement for all citizens is largely based upon the migration of Polish citizens to the UK in 2003, during which over a million exercised their right to move to the then significantly more prosperous UK. Such an imbalance between the prosperity of nations within the EU leads to many viewing mass migration from poorer countries to richer countries as inevitable, for wages and social security benefits (such as unemployment benefit) are of a much greater value in richer countries. This greater demand for social security benefits, for housing, schools and medical care is characterised as placing a strain upon the UK system. This argument has enough potency to have support from the UK government, for subverting the idea that every EU citizen has freedom to move anywhere and claim the same benefits as UK citizens is now government policy. The recent renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU has focused upon the UK being able to reserve the right to decide when an EU migrant is entitled to start receiving social security benefits from the UK government.

The reality, however, is that the UK is far more supportive of this principle than the political narrative might suggest. Almost every EU nation’s citizens are likeliest to characterise the EU by this principle, and the UK is no exception. Nearly 40% of UK citizens did so in recent surveys, well ahead of the next popular option, ‘not enough control of our borders’, the option the political and current policy narrative would suggest is the most popular. UK citizens actively exploit this principle by migrating to other EU countries, with around 250,000 UK citizens doing so in the last 2 years. There is a far greater knowledge within the EU of English compared to an average UK citizen’s knowledge of other EU languages, which makes it much harder for the UK to use the system to its advantage. Nonetheless, it is not unfeasible that a greater education-based effort to push children to learn other languages would allow this system to have greater gains for UK citizens. There is also the fact that EU migrants are 13% more likely to be working than UK citizens. This suggests that those who do come want to make a contribution and earn their own wealth, rather than simply place a greater demand on the UK system.

In sum, ‘freedom of movement’ is a principle which has much support, even in the supposedly sceptical UK. It is fundamental to the unity of the EU, but is still characterised as unworkable by some due to the wealth gap between member nations. The question of whether ‘freedom of movement’ is viewed as by UK citizens as broadening or limiting their horizons may well be critical to the final outcome of the UK referendum on EU membership.

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Toni Kerridge <![CDATA[EYPUK Summer National Session 2016: Call for Media Team and Jury!]]> http://www.eypuk.co.uk/?p=4188 2016-04-17T10:46:02Z 2016-04-17T10:46:02Z The call for Jurors, Editorial Assistant(s) and Media Team Members for the EYPUK Summer National Session 2016 is finally out – this is your last chance to join an amazing team in Liverpool at the end of June, so don’t miss out! The session’s President Andreia Moraru and Head-Organisers Naomi Foale and Phoebe Dodds, alongside […]

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The call for Jurors, Editorial Assistant(s) and Media Team Members for the EYPUK Summer National Session 2016 is finally out – this is your last chance to join an amazing team in Liverpool at the end of June, so don’t miss out!

The session’s President Andreia Moraru and Head-Organisers Naomi Foale and Phoebe Dodds, alongside Head of Jury Alastair Payne and Head of Media Enrique Tasa, are looking for up to 2 jurors, 1-2 Editorial Assistants and 4-5 Media Team Members.

DATES: June 29th to July 3rd for officials
ROLES: Up to 2 Jurors, 1-2 EAs, 4-5 Media Team Members
LOCATION: Liverpool

We encourage all alumni, particularly newer members of EYPUK, to apply!

Please send in your applications by 23:59 GMT on Sunday 24th April, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of the HOs. We look forward to reading your applications!

Teambuilding

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