In the UK, a Referendum on our membership of the EU will take place by 2017, which if results in a ‘No’ vote, will seriously negatively impact prospective and current European students in UK, the UK Higher Education system and student mobility across Europe.
In the 2015 United Kingdom General Election, the Conservative Party promised in their manifesto to hold a nationwide referendum on the question of the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union. This was promised under increasingly large pressure from right wing parties (including United Kingdom Independence Party) and reactionary rhetoric from members of the UK press as well as sentiment from a wide range of UK public.
This referendum has been promised before the end of 2017, whilst the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron has been mandated to ‘renegotiate’ our membership of the European Union and current polling indicates that it will be a closely fought referendum, the result of which could go either way.
NUS UK are particularly concerned about the impact of a ‘No’ vote and the UK leaving the European Union on the students we represent, and the mobility of students within the UK and Europe.
One of the key tenants of the UK Government’s renegotiation is curtailing the free movement of people across Europe into entering the UK. This would potentially negatively impact the thousands of European students who study in the UK every year, either making it far harder for European students to study in the UK or stopping them altogether.
Unfortunately, the national debate is already being framed solely around economic productivity and research capacity with in Higher Education within the UK, as opposed to the affect leaving the EU will have on prospective and current students studying in the UK.
That being said, it would almost certainly make European wide collaboration across educational institutions more difficult and will impact everything from research funding to the social dimension in UK, some of these issues are being discussed and many are not.
NUS UK are proud that the UK are part of the European Union. Leaving would not only have a significant impact on the UK’s education sector, but also negatively impact our cultural diversity, economic prosperity and send an entirely wrong signal that the UK is not an outward looking country which values international co-operation and solidarity at a time when it has never been more important.
NUS UK calls on ESU to publicly support our campaign that the UK remain a member of the European Union.