UK Referendum on the EU

Margrethe Vestager

Margrethe Vestager leading the struggle to get corporations to pay their fair share of tax

On Thursday 23rd June there will be a simple in or out referendum on Britain remaining a member of the European Union. I shall be voting to stay in, but it’s not at all for the same reasons as David Cameron.

The last 70 years have been the most peaceful in Europe’s history. Of course this modern era has not been perfect, but compared say to the preceding 75 years of carnage, from the Franco-Prussian War through to the First and Second World Wars; this has been a blessed time to be alive. These recent decades of peace were achieved largely due to the vision of the founding fathers of the European Union: so thank-you Robert Schuman, Winston Churchill, Konrad Adenauer and the rest.

One of the faults of the EU is that it is too close to the big corporations. However the UK outside the EU would probably be like the USA, considerably worse in this regard. If we want to hold the big corporations to account and make sure they actually pay their taxes it is to European politicians like the Dane Margrethe Vestager and British Molly Scott Cato that we need to be supportive and to give thanks.

Most of the best practice about how to live in a sustainable and socially just manner is being pioneered within the European Union. 2700 cities and regions have signed up to the Aalborg Commitments, which pledges them to strive toward ever greater sustainability, social justice and democratic accountability. Of course not all the institutions within the EU are anywhere near as good as they should be and some of the policies are bonkers, but then so too are many of the policies that our government is solely responsible for.

Of course we need more democratic accountability within the EU, as we do within the UK, the USA and in pretty much any level of governance from Herefordshire Council to the United Nations. Abolishing or leaving these organisations is not the answer: reforming them from within is. Let’s vote to stay in the EU, and to work with our many friends across Europe to continually improve how it functions.

When we in the UK discover incidents of pollution of our watercourses or of local air quality it is to European law that we can appeal. That for me, but probably not for David Cameron, is evidence enough to stay in Europe.

Yanis Varoufakis in the Guardian

Molly Scott Cato and Margrethe Vestager on corporations and tax

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