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Is the European Union Worth It Or Should We End It?

Do you think the European Union is worth it?

Or, should we end it?

Many people feel a strong disconnect with the EU, while others praise its achievements.

Everything considered: Is its existence good or bad for Europeans?

Since it looks like the UK is leaving the EU, we'll mostly treat it as if it's no longer part of the club.

The European Union, combining its 27 member countries, has a population of about 450 million people,

making it the third most populous sort-of country in the world.

It's the world's second largest economy by GDP, and has the biggest single market in the world.

But originally, the creation of the European Union was all about one thing: Peace.

Europeans are really good at war,

so they were involved in bloody conflicts for basically all their history.

A century-long rivalry between Germany and France

alone, cost millions of lives and ran so deeply

that Germans invented their own word for it:

Erbfeindschaft.

After the second World War, Europeans decided

they wanted lasting peace that was not

based on a balance of military power.

Instead, the economies, politics, and peoples of Europe,

should become so closely interconnected, that war

would become both impractical and unthinkable.

The plan worked!

Between EU members, we've had over 70 years of peace.

Okay, peace is great and all, but what are the

European Union's achievements and problems?

Today, EU citizens benefit from many individual freedoms.

EU treaties and regulations

ensure easy travel,

cheap telecommunications,

a great variety of goods and services, as well as very

strong health and safety standards.

European institutions are not afraid to

pick a fight with companies such as

Microsoft, Apple or Facebook about fair

competition, tax evasion or data protection.

Through the EU science programs, the European countries

became a collaborative engine that serves

as a hub of science in the wider world.

Unrestricted travel and the right to

work anywhere makes it easy to apply for

funds, and set up international teams of

experts with the best equipment.

In turn, the EU became the world leader in terms

of its global share of science

researchers, and produces more than

twenty-five percent of the world's

research output, with only five percent

of its population.

But many citizens feel distrust toward the EU.

Brussels seems far away and untransparent, technocratic,

and difficult to understand.

It doesn't help that the EU is terrible at outreach,

and explaining what it actually does.

This disconnect has also led to an ever-shrinking

voter turnout over the decades.

More transparency and accountability are

desperately needed if the EU

institutions want the trust of their citizens.

Currently, the EU is still

shaken by the refugee crisis of 2015.

Some countries have accepted far greater

numbers of asylum seekers than others,

while the border countries are

overwhelmed and feel left alone.

Other countries are shocked by the initially

unregulated mass immigration, and closed

their borders, effectively shutting down

the largest route into Europe.

The EU's wealth and freedom make it an

attractive destination, and this is

unlikely to change.

The population is split on how to react to that.

Some argue that Europe let in too many immigrants,

with a different culture without

strictly demanding integration, while

others argue that immigration is not the

problem, but that racism and

discrimination of immigrants is

preventing integration.

To strike a balance between helping refugees,

turning illegal immigrants away, and

successfully integrating the ones that stay,

remains one of the most difficult and

controversial challenges of the Union.

Immigration aside, many more challenges

lie in the future, like defense.

Traditionally, European countries have

relied strongly on the protection of

the US through NATO.

But in the current political climate,

Europe has to ask itself if it really

wants to depend on the United States for its safety.

If combined today, the

militaries of EU members could form an

effective defensive force and be the

third largest military in the world.

That could save a lot of money, safeguard

European borders, and enhance cultural

understanding with soldiers from 27

different countries serving one common purpose.

What about money?

Well, it's complicated.

The EU created the largest

single market in the world.

Inside it, you can trade border and customs free.

Countries that entered it got a massive

boost to their economies. Even between

neighbors, trade increased by up to five

hundred percent, and there was a steady

creation of new jobs.

Research has suggested that joining the EU has left

Most new members with an average of

a twelve percent higher GDP than if

they had remained outside.

And for those regions with weaker economies and poor

infrastructure, EU institutions provide

billions of euros every year helping

economic investment, infrastructure,

and social development.

On the negative side, the EU tries to hold together countries

with vastly different economies and laws

regarding labor, taxes and social security.

The cost of one hour of work in

an EU country ranges from four euros an hour

to forty euros an hour.

Some countries have large industries and strong exports

while others focus on services, tourism, or natural resources.

On top of this, the

euro is the common currency of some but

not all of these countries.

As the Greek crisis shows, this can be a recipe for disaster.

You cannot unify a vastly

different economies under one currency,

but their economic policies separate.

So, should all EU countries

unite under the common currency, or not?

Should the weakest links be thrown out

of the Euro, or should countries be made

to adopt common policies on taxes, health

care, and social security?

It's a question that's been brewing for years, and is

nowhere near a solution.

So, everything briefly considered: Is the

European Union worth it?

Here is our answer:

The EU is very flawed, and still

needs a lot of work. But it's fair to say

that the European Union makes Europeans powerful in the world.

Put together, we

lead in science, are one of the strongest

economic powers, and could have one of

the strongest militaries in the world.

But more importantly, the EU gives us

peace, security, and a sense of shared identity.

And something we all crave

in these turbulent times, stability.

If we want to protect the values we're so

proud of, a strong European Union is the

best way to make sure our voice is heard

in the world.

Alone as small states, we'll

hardly stand a chance in a world of

shifting superpowers.

What do you think about the EU in its future?

In recent years, the discussion about political

topics has become super toxic with sad

real-world consequences.

Let's not do that.

If you don't agree with this video,

you're not our enemy, you just have a

different opinion and that's fine.

We're all in the same boat after all, so let's

have a fact-based discussion about our future.