The Big Debate: The EU

By Daisy, Bella and Kordelia (pictured above, talking to BBC Radio Cornwall’s Matt Shepherd)

On the 23rd of June, 2016, Britain will be voting for whether or not Britain should leave the EU. We are going to be looking at people’s opinions, on the subject of the EU.

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What is the EU?

The European Union is a collection of 28 countries, primarily located in Europe. The EU has a population of over 500 million. It was founded in 1993 but there was a deal signed by six nations to pool their coal and steel resources.

Opinions on whether or not we should leave

Whilst interviewing teachers we have found out that most of them would like to stay in the EU.  Because it was international women’s day on Tuesday the 8th of February we decided to interview some female teachers. Some of them said that there was not enough information on the subject, not because of their gender and because they are women, just because there is not enough being released to the public.

We also interviewed some male teachers and they had some similar opinions on the subject. They think that we should not leave the EU and all work together and not all as individuals.  Another thing that people have said is that EU has brought peace and kept everything together.   But some teachers do think we should leave the EU and that we would benefit from leaving, such as one teacher said: “There will not be a massive change for society or schools, we have our own education system we have our own exam criteria, people may be less willing to learn foreign languages.”

Writing to our local MP

We decided to write to Mr Double, our local MP, and ask him some questions about whether or not we should leave the EU. He kindly responded to us, and told us some of his views and that in fact he would like to leave the EU. Mr Steve Double has said: “Very little would change for young people in schools, if we left the EU.” Regarding our question “If we were to vote and leave the EU, what do you believe would be the biggest change for young people, especially in schools?” Mr Double continued: “Britain would be £11 billion per year better off if we left the EU.”

“If we left school children would still be able to go on holiday across Europe, and Europeans would still be able to visit Britain. If after school you wanted to live or study in Europe it would depend on the settlement we had with the rest of the EU after we left but you would probably need to apply for a work or study visa before living there long term.”

“There are benefits to belonging to the EU such as free trade arrangements and access to European markets. Cornwall has also benefited from millions of pounds or EU support. However, I believe we have now reached a point where the cost and negative impact of being in the EU outweigh the benefits.”

“By far the biggest risk in my opinion is staying in the EU which is increasingly having to deal with crisis after crisis, most of its own making. For example the Eurozone meltdown, where countries who should not be in a currency union together, are causing enormous economic hardship with almost 50% youth unemployment in Greece, Spain and Italy. In addition, the migration crisis where the open borders policy makes it very difficult to control migration. If the EU cannot get its act together to sort these issues out, then how is it going to tackle bigger issues in the 21st century?”

Other opinions – We asked some of the teachers their views on this subject: 

  • Mrs Sigrist said that “Other countries representatives are very important”
  • Mr Tew believes that we are being given “mixed messages” and he wants to know “why we think we can just walk out of the EU?”
  • Mrs Pitt says that the “EU was meant to help the future of young people!”
  • Miss Shapland that politicians should be “more clear” about the effects of staying/leaving the EU.
  • Miss Oldrieve believes that “gender doesn’t affect how much information that I learn, and I believe that the biggest change would be jobs.”
  • Another teacher said: “I think that we should leave the EU, however I think that information would be lacking. I believe the biggest issue would be housing, especially in big cities”

Read more about the girls’ discussions with Mr Double here.