Last week, the European Question Time was hosted at the Calman Learning Centre at Durham University. About a hundred people from different schools as well as several members of the public attended the event. The evening started off with David Cowling welcoming the two MEPs, Jude Kirton-Darling from the Labour Party and Jonathan Arnott from UKIP.
Two students from the Erasmus+ program were invited to speak about their time as international students and their experiences with the Erasmus+ programme.
Jude then began her presentation and talked about how the EU is beneficial for us and why we are better staying in than out. She presented five key points promoting the EU:
- The EU creates jobs and growth
- The EU invests in our region
- The EU protects our rights
- The EU keeps us safe
- The EU improves our environment
Jude admitted that the EU is an organization with some flaws which needs reformation to some extent, however, she believes that it is better for us to stay and help the EU sort out these problems instead of heading for the exit.
Jonathan, on the other hand, presented a different point of view on our EU membership. According to Jonathan, the EU puts up limits on our opportunities of trade- cooperation outside of the EU.
He also believes that the EU gets undeserved recognition for things it has not achieved, for example keeping the peace within the EU. He brought up the point that democracies do not engage in war with each other. According to Jonathan, the European Union is a 1950’s idea.
After both speakers had made their presentation on their views, the floor opened up to audience to ask questions. The questions concerned different topics, such as economy, party politics, climate change as well as the level of democracy within the EU.
At the end of the evening, after hearing elaborate answers from both Jude and Jonathan the audience was asked to vote for or against UK’s membership in the EU. The poll showed 82 votes in favour of staying in the EU, and 20 votes in favour of leaving the EU.
The event was as expected interesting and insightful as well as a good preparation for the upcoming referendum that will decide our future regarding the EU.