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Statement from Wiard Sterk


"I am a Dutch citizen, a British resident and a committed European. The principle of free movement has been instrumental in encouraging the social and cultural integration in Europe. In many ways this is a more important achievement than the political, economic and regulatory aspects of the EU, and helped to secure peace and prosperity in a continent, which for the century before was regularly at war with itself. 

This is now under threat following the outcome of the referendum in the UK. EU citizenship, which many see as a right and a privilege, is questioned and will be denied to many, if the negotiating process of the UK exit continues in its current guise. The social and economic impact on the many millions UK citizens with family and social connections throughout Europe – or those living there – and the many non-UK EU citizens integrated into UK families and living here, will be massive and painful.

My objective is to highlight this process and show how much the current and future generations will lose in opportunities and in social and cultural connections, as well as the barriers and disruption they will face if the UK withdrawal from the EU goes ahead. Backed up by the economic and political arguments, it will demonstrate tangibly and clearly to many people the benefits to UK citizens and residents of being a full part of the EU, the benefit to the EU of closer collaboration in the perspective of a changing and less safe world and the fallacy of the exit argument."

 

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