Former UK businessman Marcus Lasance shares his top 3 reasons for the #UKtoStay in the EU
Drs. Marcus Lasance (1953) is a graduate from Nyenrode and the Rotterdam School of Management. Previously Managing Director of MaXware UK Ltd., the UK subsidiary of Norwegian Identity Management software company MaXware AS, Marcus has held various IT development, security and senior management positions with Verizon Business, Siemens, British Telecom, Philips and Fokker.
Currently Marcus Lasance is semi-retired living in Limousin Area of France where he restores Slough built classic Citroëns. Check out his blog IdentitySpace for more articles about the EU referendum and expert pieces on identity management and privacy.
1. #Brexit would harm the UKeconomy
The UK is an attractive gateway into the European market for foreign companies. These companies make up over half of our inward investment – they do not do this to send their products all the way back home again!
Thoughts of Britain invigorating their old Commonwealth trade ties may play well with some, but we should be aware that removing easy access to the European market will take away lucrative consumers for the types of goods and services currently developed in the UK.
When I was Managing Director of Maxware UK, a subsidiary of a big Norwegian software company, they based me in East Anglia. This was not only because of the abundant IT skills there, but also due to Britain’s excellent access to the European continent, with low cost airline hubs such as Stansted.
We are now a modern ‘knowledge based’ economy. EU membership puts us in a great position within the IT services industry: not only does the UK sell high tech enterprise resource systems across the EU, but it also excels in creating world class computer software. We rely on trade with the similarly advanced countries on our doorstep.
In Europe we should play to Britain’s strengths in the service industry, not reminisce about exporting the luxury goods that we do manufacture to remote ex-colonies thousands of miles away. We left those ‘days of the empire’ behind us for good reason.
We trade well with our EU neighbours, because they have similar tastes and spending power, and the freedom of movement to share our service offerings. Like us, our EU neighbours like the choice, abundance and EU guaranteed quality of goods on offer. In the EU we are part of the single largest and richest consumer market in the world, with over 500 million consumers.
Why would we want to begin burdening UK exports with potential tariffs of 10% after Brexit? Why would we shoot ourselves in the foot and have British built cars being classified as non-EU? Why do we want to start filling in customs forms all over again?
An exit from the union would be taking our economy backwards, not forwards.
2. EU Freedom of movement is not just good for trade
Freedom of movement invigorates our economies. Where there are skill shortages, businesses can attract the workers they need from a much larger market where there are more younger workers. Upon retirement, millions of Brits, Germans, Dutch and Belgians can fulfil their dreams, sell their house and retire to their ‘place in the sun’ to start enjoying their accumulated wealth.
I know I did. In the region of France where I now live Brits make up 9% of the population. We restore charming houses that stood empty for years, stop them from becoming ruins. In our second youth, we bring back life to remote country villages. In France just like back home an aging population needs doctors, nurses and carers. Thanks to the EU we can attract them from younger EU countries with less prosperity. What on earth is wrong with that? They work hard, they learn the lingo, and often put us British expats to shame when it comes to integrating.
3. Together in the EU, we have a stronger voice in the world
I am conscious of a shifting global power base in the world. We have wars in the Middle East. We have international terrorism to cope with. We have a refugee crisis to deal with as a consequence. Lately the war games Putin started playing in the Ukraine and Syria concern me even more. Here we have a direct threat to Europe, but Britain stands idly by while Angela Merkel and President Hollande clock up the diplomatic air-miles by agreeing on a clear EU message. Meanwhile Cameron stays at home trying to outfox Nigel Farage, a populist leader who says he admires Putin.
I have also lived and studied in America. Far from a ‘special relationship’ with the USA, I have always felt that the USA treated my adopted home country as a lap-dog. While I have admiration for the bravery of British troops, I feel that there is no reason why they could not be just as brave in the context of greater EU military cooperation, rather than us having to solely rely on NATO and our American allies.
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