4

Sixty-eight per cent of Spaniards want to remain in the European Union as do 72 per cent of Germans but more than half of Britons want to pull out. So why is there such a big difference between Britain and many other European states? There is no simple answer but the European Union has always enjoyed a bad press in Britain. When you mention Europe in Britain someone will always remember the “straight bananas”, a madcap European Union scheme which stated that bananas had to have the same form and size. But it is only Britain that remembers the straight bananas; in Spain the European Union is part of everyday life. I don’t think Britain has ever been comfortable with the European Union and there is a distinct possibility that it could vote to pullout. But what worries me is the economic uncertainty which would follow if Britain did elect to leave the European Union. Now, many believe that Britain could have a fantastic future if it left the European Union and set up on its own. I do think this is a rather romantic and dangerous view. Britain should be part of the European Union but on its own terms. I don’t think it is a question of Britons not liking the rest of Europe; it must be remembered that the majority of Britons spend their holidays on the European continent. I think it is a question of bad press and a lack of understanding of the European Union and how it works.