Dear voting Brits,
As researchers, Europe brings us together, offers us opportunities for funding, opening-up data, sharing ideas and collaborating. Science and research will suffer if we get divided up, separated by local bureaucracies. Leaving the EU will smash apart some scientific collaborations, reduce our cross national funding and slow down scientific progress.
To even contemplate leaving the European Union is astonishing to me. Growing-up and living in Europe I was proud to exist during a better time in history than the one my parents, or grandparents had known as kids. I could move from one member state to another freely, I felt connected to all the European Union cultures, languages and identities. I was a European citizen above and beyond any nationality. Not only that, but we were taught at school about one of the founding principles of the European project: to avoid wars from breaking out between member states. This all seemed like the seedlings of a better world – one in which we could really start to cultivate something worthwhile.
Now, I have kids of my own, and it doesn’t matter if they are British, Irish or French, because they are Europeans and can be all of these in one. As well as valuing openness, the European Union is a strong supporter of local European cultures and traditions which sometimes get lost in national identities. If anything, Europe helps us feel more connected to our communities and regions.
All this seems to be forgotten in this divisive referendum debate. The thing I find hardest to understand is how closing yourselves down and shutting us out is going to achieve anything. Only by working together can we push back extremism, redress inequalities and find solutions to global problems. To shut yourselves away is negative, inward-looking, and exclusive.
You are better with us and we are better with you. So vote to remain, to be part of something that is bigger and better than anything one nation can offer, and together build on the things we had already started.
A lifelong citizen of Europe