Britain Should Stay in the EU

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Britain’s referendum on leaving the European Union could not have come at a worse moment.

Russia is waging war on Ukraine, a migrant crisis threatens to undo the continent’s social fabric, and low economic growth fuels the rise of nationalist parties. Britain’s departure from the EU would exacerbate all these problems.

At no time since the end of the Cold War has Western unity been more important than now.

Moreover, a British exit would not only spark other departures, but also likely lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom itself: considering the extent of pro-European sentiment in Scotland, a “Leave” vote would convince most Scots to support independence from a Great Britain lacking EU membership.

Immigration is perhaps the main driver of British skepticism toward the EU, athough largely because Brexiteers have been so successful conflating its European and non-European forms.

For instance, the “Leave” campaign has tried to frighten voters with the prospect of millions upon millions of Muslim Turks entering their country, in spite of the fact that Turkey is not a member of the EU and is highly unlikely to join in anyone’s lifetime.

The European Union is both the world’s biggest economy and its largest free-trading area. Every reputable economist has predicted negative consequences from a “Leave” vote, at least in the short term. If emotional appeals to European peace and unity cannot convince the taciturn Brits to vote with their hearts, a forthright examination of the cold economic facts should persuade them to vote with their heads.

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