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In or Out: State your case

We asked Vote Leave and Britain Stronger In Europe for their pre-referendum messages to our readers.

Vote Leave spokesman:
Robert Oxley

THIS campaign is not about us disliking Europe or France or the French, it’s about disliking the EU and what it has become.

Many people voted for a different type of institution 40 years ago and it has moved along a path I don’t think Britons support.

When it comes to Britons living in France now, their rights will be protected under quite a few things under international and EU law so we will not have mass deportations; that would be absurd. There will be some discretion and fine-tuning but for every UK citizen abroad there are EU citizens in the UK, so there will be a negotiation, but the priority for both sides will be to secure the status quo.

In terms of procedures for leaving, there is an argument that it could be done through domestic law or via international commitments, rather than invoking article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Article 50 was designed to make it difficult to leave the EU and there will be a huge incentive to find other means.

‘Remain’ campaigners suggest we would immediately invoke article 50 but it’s not true. If we vote to leave, nothing changes the day afterwards. What would start would be informal discussions, much like during David Cameron’s renegotiations – they involved him flying around Europe having informal discussions and the only formal part was the European Council discussions.

Article 50 is being raised as something to scare people but they are not considering the reality of how the EU works.

Also, the day after a leave vote, the facts on the ground would change. At the moment, they are desperate to say it’ll be doom and gloom, but afterwards they will be desperate to make sure trade isn’t harmed between the EU and UK and that there is a good deal, so the EU can go down the way it wants, with more integration while continuing to trade freely with Britain, its largest market.

As for access to benefits or public services like the NHS by EU citizens, and negotiations on rights for British expats in the EU, I would stress that issues of restricting benefits mostly arose because Mr Cameron was not
able to control immigration. It was a proxy for what people really want, which is effective control of migration so that the right amount of people are using public services and the right amount of skills are coming in.

Also, in the present broken system sometimes people’s family members from outside the EU are discriminated against and can’t come in, whereas EU people can.

I would point out that other countries such as Norway and Israel take part in the Erasmus scheme so I believe that British students will still be able to study abroad in the same way. And as for people retiring to the continent, there are large sections of the Spanish or French economy relying on people retiring there, bringing their pensions and investments. So the idea they will suddenly say ‘we don’t want that British’ money’, is not likely.
It is true there are currently global pressures on sterling - for example due to the Chinese slow-down - but the biggest threat is the ‘Remain’ campaign talking down the economy.

A lot of talk of the pound dropping disastrously after a Brexit has come from Goldman Sachs, the bank that helped crash the global economy, so why should we take predictions from them? We saw similar warnings if we didn’t join the euro, but it wasn’t true.

Stronger In spokesman:
James McGrory

WE ARE all
going to be affected
by this decision,
younger people
but British people
in France will feel the effects of
it as much as anybody.
You should think carefully
and inform yourself, especially
about how you might be
directly affected, but also think
of the next generation. If you
have had the opportunity to
work and live abroad, do you
want the same opportunities
extended to your children and
The system we’ve got now is a
two-way street. People are free
to come and live and work and
study and travel in the UK
from anywhere else in the EU
and the Leave campaign has
made it clear they dislike that.
But the corollary is that this
allows British people to live,
travel, work and study in the
EU as much as they like, which
is great, and lots of Britons take
advantage of that.
So, if we are shutting one end
of the street and saying we don’t
want as many people from the
EU to come over and work and
live in Britain, that will have
knock-on effects on the ability
of British people to do the same
in the rest of Europe.
I can’t give clarity on what
rights Britons in France would
retain if the UK leaves, because
we would be entering into
completely uncharted territory.
But it is clear that if EU citizens
cannot live in Britain as freely as
they can now, it’s unlikely that
other countries will say ‘that’s
fine, but we’ll reciprocate by continuing
to do everything as we’ve
done for years’.
There are question marks over
access to public services. The
Leave campaign say there should
be less access to public services
for EU citizens in Britain, but do
we just expect EU countries to
say ‘we’ll continue to allow
British citizens access to our
public services, healthcare etc’? I
think that’s a stretch.
There are lots of British people
who’ve enjoyed the right to
go and make their careers in
other EU nations and have done
so successfully and brought
benefits to themselves and their
families. The Leave campaigners
are saying we won’t extend
that right in the same way, to
come and seek employment,
and so I don’t think those job
opportunities will be the same
for Britons either.
There may be as many as two
million Brits currently living
abroad in the EU. I think the
Leave campaign tends to,
unfairly, portray it as a oneway
street, when nothing could
be further from the truth.
The British have always been
an outward-facing people who
have travelled and gone to work
and live in other parts of the
world and that’s great, especially
for young people at university
who want to follow that path.
But they’re going to find those
opportunities curtailed.
Look at someone like [Vote
Leave chairman] Nigel Lawson,
who lives in France. He has
enjoyed all those benefits from
the EU himself but now he
wants to pull up the drawbridge
so that our young people
can’t enjoy the same.
We’ve heard from many people
wanting reassurance, but it can’t
be provided. I wish it could.
For over 30 years there has
been a significant group of people
in the UK who are rabidly
anti-European and have made
their case very vocally. At the
start we were playing catch-up
but I would argue we have now
more than caught up and are
winning the arguments.

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