In the wake of Brexit, one of the most searched questions on Google was “What is the EU?” according to a tweet by Google Trends. Now, does it not seem silly that some people voted to leave without knowing what the EU is and put the position of the UK in a state of panic? Guest writer Divine Gonçalves talks about the European Union and why it is so important to fight for. Divine is originally from the United Arab Emirates and is now based in south Wales, United Kingdom. She is currently studying English and Creative Writing at the University of South Wales.

It is quite unfortunate to hear a European who questions what the EU is, because it has done so much for its people. So, the only way to make sure that we as Europeans know about a union that our forefathers worked so hard in building and to prevent its disintegration, I’m going to get you acquainted with what the EU is and why it is important.

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of the 28 member states. Isn’t this simple? Well, as simple as it sounds, its functioning is also quite structured, as it has the major advantage of having a single market apart from being democratic and having its own judicial system. Being a part of this union, many of its citizens have taken advantage of ‘The Four Freedoms’. If you are wondering why I referred to the Europeans as citizens, it is because we live as though the whole of the EU is our country, I will explain this in further detail later on. Back to ‘The Four Freedoms’, which are the commonly exercised rights, they are:

• Free Movement of Capital
• Free Movement of Goods
• Free Movement of People
• Free Movement of Services

The single market is where all of the above can move freely within the member countries as if in their own country! So in short, the EU is like a country of its own. I have thereby answered your question of why I referred to the Europeans as the citizens of the EU.

The EU started out as only 6 member countries and has now grown to 28 countries with candidate countries on the waiting list and potential candidates, too!

Now that the question of what the EU is has been cleared, I’m sure you’re wondering “Why was it created? The countries could be uninvolved and still prosper.” Well, as the proverb goes, “United we stand, divided we fall.” The EU was created similarly; the 6 founding members decided it would be best to end all the wars between its neighbours which were violent during the Second World War. Then, they decided it would be nice to run their heavy industries under the same management, the idea was to incorporate trust within each other and so none of them could make weapons to use against each other during the war. So, thank you Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg for creating such a strong, powerful, and influential union that has grown so much and is continuing to grow.

While the primary reason for the creation of the EU was to establish peace among fellow neighbours, the EU has invested their time, efforts, and finances into other important issues such as:

• Climate change
• Consumer protection
• Environment protection
• Erasmus
• Greener farming practices
• Health care
• Human rights and equality
• Humanitarian aid and civil protection
• Prevention against cyber crimes
• Providing better quality of food
• Science and Research.

There are many more issues that the EU concentrates on, but the above mentioned ones are some of the main areas the EU works on.

So, now I hope you can see why the protection of the EU is crucial. The event of Brexit has made a massive change in history and unfortunately Britons will be missing out on many of the benefits provided by the EU; major concerns are around the environmental protection and animal protection as well.

The EU, like any other organisation, is not without flaw. But the good news is that it is democratic and of course in a democracy, we the people are responsible for whom we elect. We can build a more transparent EU and prevent its disintegration.

“United in diversity.”

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