Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Brexit or Stronger In?

Hello my fellow readers,

it has been too long. I've spend most of last year finishing my degree, and after graduating (yes, I did finally graduate) I had to move for my job. I am currently living in Cologne while doing a graduate programme at a Fortune 500 company. Travelling is part of my job now, and it is so to an extend where being at home becomes a rarity. This however is not what I want to write about today. I will gladly write more about the people I have had the pleasure of meeting during my many travels in the last couple of months and about the experiences I have made. Today I want to write about something that is close to my heart, maybe closer than it should be.

The upcoming referendum in the UK - the Brexit.

First and foremost I want to stress, that I understand that it is not my decision but that of the British people. I have spent quite some time in the UK and I have been fortunate enough to meet some of the most incredible people while being there. I would have never thought that I would find another place I would feel at home but I did on this wonderful small island in the beautiful city of Bath. I have never had the impression that I was treated as a foreigner or an unwanted person, and I know that this would not change whether or not Great Britain will leave the European Union.
I can deeply relate to what they call European culture, and I can safely say that I do feel European in a sense that I do seem to never struggle to connect to people within Europe. I am too young to know how it was back in the days where there were borders. And somehow I had the impression, that all the students that I had met in England felt similarly.
When first hearing arguments for staying in and leaving the EU, I felt baffled by how strong the wording was in all of them. The British have always been proud and independent people. Ask any European, they will tell you. I was astonished to hear how many people inside Great Britain do not feel that way, but I understand that this independence is hugely important to Brits. I can appreciate how, as a Democracy, you want to vote on your own laws, and not have someone else decide for them, however - technically - that is exactly what the EU does, only on a broader scale.
As you might have picked up already, I am not a fan of the Brexit, I feel like the Brits that I know belong in the EU, they belong to a group of countries I feel close to. They belong to that Europe that I have grown up in, that I live in, and that I as a student enjoyed so much. Even now, the fact that I can go pack my things and drive to London in a day is just an absolutely brilliant thought.
Will that change? I don't know. Maybe, probably not, who knows. But that's not the point. It's not about what Europe wants, it's about what Great Britain wants, after all. I keep telling myself that, I kept telling myself that a lot.
However because it is something that Great Britain decides, to me it sends a clear message. My best comparison of this scenario is someone breaking up with their spouse. It's the end of a very intense relationship, and what happens if someone breaks up with you and asks you to "let's stay friends"? Very often, things do get awkward, and the same relationship will not exist any more. What exactly might change, I do not dare guess. This is exactly what is so remarkable for me.
If the cooperation is so terrible, how can a normal relationship exist after the Brexit, and what would it look like? Alternatively, if the cooperation wasn't so terrible, why did David Cameron not ask the British people for a directive to limit EU's influence for Great Britain rather than stopping it completely? It seems like the step that one of the outcomes of the referendum is a huge over reaction to what the actual problem are (I can hear myself, and it does sound like a relationship, doesn't it?).
The so-called second chance you give a relationship, however, cannot be applied in the same way in this scenario. Instead, there will be hard negotiations between the European Union and Great Britain (assuming Scotland were to stay in Great Britain after a Brexit vote). Hard negotiations where, realistically the EU has leverage over Great Britain. Again I do not dare suggest what that would result in; I am by no means a political expert, nor am I trying to act as one.
I have watched the first BBC debate "How Should I Vote", and I will continue to follow the debate as it goes on. I will be on the edge of my seat on the 23rd, just as many of you guys will be. I cannot imagine having to vote on something with such a massive impact ever, and I do not know the right answer on how to vote. 
However I do know exactly how I feel about Great Britain in the European Union, and it is the same way I feel about Germany being in the European Union: The EU is better with us being in, and it is better with Great Britain in. And to use the relationship analogy one last time: I hope that the British people decide to stay in so that we can work on our problems together.

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