A group of student activists advocating the UK remaining in the EU are set to launch their campaign on 20 February.
The event will be held in London at the Institute of Education. NUS President Megan Dunn and Young European Movement President Susi Navara are both to speak, with training sessions provided by Britain Stronger in Europe, NUS and Universities UK.
The launch comes at a time when the debate around Britain’s place in the European Union is heating up amidst the prospect of a referendum in the next two years.
The group aim to promote Britain as a country with a future in the European Union and host a variety of events to do so. They see their main functions as education, correcting media ‘anti-Europe bias’ and to “inform companies about the benefits of Europe”.
On 16 February the group will be attending a debate at Oxford Town Hall. Students on either side of the debate have a group to affiliate with. Students for Britain are the rival campaign group, advocating a fundamental change in the relationship between Britain and the European Union.
According to their own website, the group believes that the only way in which Britain can achieve fundamental reform with the European Union is to leave.
Statistics released by The Telegraph suggest that current national opinion is divided between 49 per cent in favour of leaving the EU and 51 per cent for remaining within the EU, although there is doubt over the reliability of such polls after the failure of exit polls to predict a Conservative majority in the 2015 general election. David Cameron has promised to hold a referendum on Britain’s and the EU in 2017, although many believe that this will now be held in late 2016.
Conservative negotiations with European powers over Britain’s current standing with the EU are still ongoing. Key points from the negotiations include: a recognition that sterling has an equal standing to the Euro, the restriction of benefits to migrants, to limit closer ties with the EU, and the extention of the single market, whilst reducing regulation.
UKIP, the most prominent anti-EU political party, claims that after leaving the EU, renegotiation of trade deals would be a simple process given Britain’s status as the fifth larget economy in the world. All three major political parties officially support the campaign to keep Britian within the EU, although there are divisions among Conservative MPs.
According to an article by The Guardian, almost one third of British and German companies claimed that they would either reduce their business operations in Britain or leave entirely, if Britain leaves the EU.
British turnout to the 2014 European parliament election was 35.6 per cent, compared to the 42.6 per cent European average. There are concerns that with such a low voter turnout, a large proportion of the British public aren’t aware who represents them in the European parliament.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the campaigns. local groups, getting involved or supporting either of the groups should look to the respective websites.