There are a lot of reasons why I, personally, am pro-Europe. European regulations have benefited and protected me both as a small-business owner and as an employee. A decade of working alongside European colleagues in every single job I’ve had, and not finding that in the least remarkable, has been a privilege and a pleasure. The ability to travel widely and freely, visa-free and with the shortest queues and most cursory checks, has been one of the great joys of my life. Philosophically, I believe strongly in attempting to be part of something bigger, of connecting with the rest of an increasingly small world and finding what unites us, rather than attempting to cut ourselves off into ever smaller states and sub-states. And, logically, I know that, for all its flaws, the financial benefits of the EU far outweigh any contributions we may make to it.
But that’s just me, that’s my personal opinion. Here a five ‘on-topic’ reasons why, as a blog about sports, health and the outdoors, ‘we’ vehemently support the UK remaining in the EU.
It gives you access
Some truly superb outdoor activities lie almost on our doorstep in mainland Europe. And, yes, you may still be easily able to access them after we leave, you’ll probably be able to take a visa-free trip to Berlin to run the marathon or Sweden to hike the Kings Trail. Probably, we still don’t know.
But what we do know is that you won’t be able to just show up and freely take work in Chamonix as a ski guide or mountain leader, Cyprus as a scuba instructor, Spain as a climbing instructor, or anywhere else to do anything else. And, if that doesn’t overly bother you, then bear in mind that the flip-side is that nor will these places in future be quite so readily stocked with enthusiastic young English men and women able to instruct and guide you in your own language.
The EU works, and has worked to protect the environment
Unlike, frankly, our own government through successive administrations, the EU is imposing a number of directives to combat climate change and damage to the environment. We may like to believe that similar measures would continue outside of the EU but there is no guarantee this would be the case. In fact, given that the pro-Brexit movement is a) committed to ‘cutting red-tape’ and b) tends to be more skeptical of climate change, there is a real risk that progress would be lost in these sorts of vital areas.
European health and safety laws have made outdoor activities safer
Another thing the EU is often derided and criticised for is its contribution to ‘elf and safety’ culture. You might think that, as a rough, tough adventurous type, I’d be equally dismissive of molly-coddling and the nanny superstate. On the contrary, it is the kind of robust health and safety legislation created in Europe that has made the UK and rest of Europe amongst the safest places in the world to do organised outdoor activities or undertake instruction.
Of course, accidents happen here as everywhere in the world, but ask yourself why it is that you probably feel a lot more confident booking a potentially risky activity at a resort in Europe than you might in other parts of the world? It’s not because people on other continents are any less capable or well-intentioned, it’s because Europe has a strict regulatory structure in place. We might not appreciate it much right now but, believe me, we’d miss it if it was gone.
Europe has made your outdoor equipment safer
By the same token, decades of strict regulation, fast response to accidents, clear marking, and robustly dealing with infractions, has made safety-critical gear sold in the EU extremely reliable. Items as diverse as climbing equipment, scuba regulators, ski helmets, and many more are subject to individual strict European standards for design and manufacture. Even more importantly, as a consumer, it’s very easy to confirm that a piece of equipment you are buying meets those standards by simply looking for the CE marking. Again, how many of us really appreciate all the work that has gone into the making sure that marking actually means something?
The EU allows you to explore an entire continent
As travellers and adventurers, how can we not want to be part of a union that allows us to jump on a train in London and travel freely across 27 countries with the only passport check being the one when we leave the UK, (and that only because we refused to sign the Schengen agreement). Or to be able to drive anywhere in the union with just our UK drivers’ license and not think twice about it, or need any additional insurance.
Freedoms like this might not seem like a big deal since most of us have grown up with them and I suspect most of us secretly still believe that things won’t change too much. But believe me, they will, especially if we crash out of the EU with no deal.
If you are a UK resident and care about any of this, or any of the countless other reasons for remaining in this incredible, unique, exclusive club of wonderful countries, then please: