By Sally Low
Low Associates is a European business. We are contractors to the European Commission delivering Europe-wide projects, including the European Enterprise Promotion Awards, the SME Assembly and the European Business Awards for the Environment. So, we are supporting the UK's continued membership of the EU. So much, so obvious, as the Brexiters would say.
There is nothing wrong in businesses setting out where their interests lie. Our business provides jobs, income and taxes in Britain which would not happen if we were to be out of the U.K., operating from other EU countries. But my personal support for ' Remain' in this referendum is about much more than self-interest.
I worked in Paris early in my career. I have always seen myself as a European. That is not only where our history was made, but also is where our future lies. I want my children to be able to live and work in France, Germany, Italy or the Netherlands. I want them to be global citizens and being a part of a strong Europe enables us to give them those chances in life. The US, China and India need access to European consumers. Stronger together, we can win greater opportunities across the globe for our businesses now and for our children in the future than we could alone.
And I have seen in our work, many European businesses – including many small and growing businesses – which have prospered because the open markets of Europe give them access to people, skills, ideas and customers without constraints. As the Digital Single Market and Capital Markets Union afford growing and innovative businesses even greater opportunities, there are even more benefits to come.
The economic case for EU membership is compelling, and the environmental case likewise. The geopolitical case is evident to anyone who listens to Britain's friends; from U.S. President Obama to Japanese Prime Minister Abe.
For me, though, it is more a personal issue. What kind of people are we? The Brexit case has increasingly become an ugly concatenation of narrow-minded, anti-immigrant fear-mongering, with scant regard for reality and the impact of such unpleasant undertones. That is not the kind of people we should be. We are a country open to ideas and innovation. Generations of people have come to, and left, Britain, making us not only the most dynamic job-creating country in Europe, but an inspiration to others for our values, institutions, inventiveness, tolerance, language, culture and creativity. Being British long ago ceased to be about where you lived, and instead became about our identity.
To vote now to turn our backs on Europe, and the very idea of trans-national cooperation which it encapsulates, would be an awful denial of true British ideals and of the opportunities we can give to our children.