EU Referendum: Professor David H. Dunn


Hello, my name’s David Dunn. I’m professor
of International Politics and head of the Department of Political Science and International
Studies at the University of Birmingham. Today I’d like to share some thought’s about what
is very positive about the European Union and what that contribution is and why we should
stay part of what is a positive force in world politics. The first thing to say is that as
a historian of war which I partly am, war is the universal condition in European history
for the last 3000 years. War is older than sovereignty, older than the nation states and every generation
has thought they’ve been past war and that war was a thing of the past. This was true
in 1918, true in the 1930s and the European project, it’s main purpose has been to address
the causes of war and to build what’s called a security community through functional integration
and to actually ameliorate the causes of war and that, I think it has done very successfully
over 70 years. In doing that it has also spread security throughout Europe, it’s actually brought peace
and stability to Greece and Spain that had dictators, it’s over the years it’s also embraced
and socialised the former European communist countries of Eastern Europe and in doing so
it’s created a large space in Europe that is secure, where the prospect of resort to
force within that community is now a thing of the past. Now Europe is going through a
lot of challenges, the resurgent Russia, the challenge of ISIS. Now is not a time to set
a process in motion that would destabilise and possibly end what has been a long sustained
period of peace in european history. But Europe’s not just about peace, europe is also about
prosperity. The creation of the single market has been a massive boon for the european economy
and a massive boon for the UK in Europe. Back in the 1970s, which I remember, Britain was
the sick man of Europe. Our economy lagged behind Italy, it lagged behind France. Now it’s
the second biggest economy, partly because people invest from overseas direct foreign investments
in the UK as a way of getting to a market 500 million people. That’s why Toyota, and
Honda and Airbus and even Kellogg’s and Microsoft invest in the UK as part of a wider
market and that’s hugely beneficial for the UK economy. The same thing is true about the
City of London. The City of London, the joke there is, that it’s rather like Wimbledon, we provide
the venue but not necessarily all the players. Because there are 300 thousand French, there are
hundreds of thousands of Germans, all Europeans work in the city and make that a truly European
and global financial hub. Free movement of people makes that possible and the economy
benefits enormously. 25% of the UK economy is financial services and that’s as a consequence
of the free movement of people and membership of the European Union. We’ve also actually
benefited from a single European space. We’re part of a larger community. By being part of something
bigger, we are better. Less xenophobic, less racist. We actually understand Europe, we travel
around Europe, we actually experience Europe in a different way. The prospect of jumping
on an aeroplane and flying off to a European capital for the weekend is a thing that
was completely alien 50, 60 years ago even 20 years ago. Now we see ourselves in a different
context, we are part of a larger European project. We have a larger sense of ourselves that is
better as a consequence. We’re also actually better on the world stage by speaking with
one voice. When Britain speaks on the world stage as 70 million, that’s one voice.
If we lead in Europe and speak on behalf and lead 500 million then we have a bigger voice. We have a chance to export soft power values, European values, on the world stage through
the institution and I recommend you stay in as a consequence. Thank you.

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