The EU referendum has been described as one of the most important decisions we have to take in our lifetime.
And now MEPs for the assembly’s south-east region have set out why they’re passionate about either Britain either staying in or permanently leaving the European Union ahead of the public’s decision.
Much has been said about the pros and cons of leaving the institution.
Prime minister David Cameron, the driving force behind the Remain campaign to stay in Europe, has warned that choosing to leave will put the nation’s security at threat and could possibly lead to another world war, as well as raising fears over the knock-on effect on pensions and the NHS, among other things.
Yesterday the Prime Minister insisted that the cross-party coalition backing a Remain vote is not an ‘establishment stitch-up’, as he appeared with Carwyn Jones, the Labour First Minister of Wales, and acknowledged that the referendum campaign was ‘undoubtedly close’.
Mr Cameron has seen a sizeable number of his party rebel and join the Brexit cause, and argues why the UK should go it alone.
Euro-sceptics say it’s time for Britain to become a dominant global force again and form free trade deals with countries outside of Europe and that can’t be done while still tied to the EU.
DAN HANNAN FOR BREXIT
We are a global country. Over the last 10 years, countries like China have seen their economy double in size, while the Eurozone economy has been the same size as it has been since 2006.
We are members of the only stagnant customs union.
We are the country that does the most trade outside the EU, yet we cannot sign our own free trade deal agreements in our name.
The day we joined, we gave the EU 100 per cent control over our deals.
That wouldn’t be a bad thing if the EU was a huge chunk of the world economy, and if it was taking the vast majority of our exports.
For instance, there is no free trade agreement between the EU and Australia; it’s being held up by Italian tomato growers.
It makes no sense for us to have our trade with Australia dependent on whether Italian tomato growers get their way.
How on earth can’t we sign our own free trade agreement with one of our oldest friends?
The EU is obsolete, the world has moved on.
Geographical proximity has never meant less than it does now.
The EU was designed in an age where there were no container ships, freight interest was high.
We are in the age of Skype and cheap flights.
Catherine Bearder for Remain
We are shaping the EU, we are the third biggest member in terms of population and we have huge influence in the way people work here.
Did it stop Mrs Thatcher being elected as prime minister? Did it stop us going to war and various other things we have done over the last few years, whether that’s invent things like the Dyson.
What it has done is improve our standing in the world. People come to us, because they know we are part of the EU; Rolls-Royce, Toyota, all the big employers come to us.
It has given us huge research funding, but also access to a single market and people don’t understand the difference between a single market and a free trade agreement.
Already, the UK has got more opt-outs than any other country. We don’t have to be part of the Euro and a lot of the justice and home affairs laws.
We wouldn’t get any more if we were to leave. The EU would not be minded to give us any more.
I can see the benefits the EU brings to the UK - I am passionately British, I lived overseas for a while but I wanted to come back and wanted it to be where my family to grow up.
We will have more powers in than out of the EU.
We are a huge influence on the EU, and what will happen if we leave will make the country less and less British, because we will have less influence. We will still have to abide by EU rules and pay into it if we want access into the market. We haven’t become less British over the last 40 years, and by being in, we are a stronger force.
Ray Finch for Brexit
The simple underlying reason why we need to get out of Europe is sovereignty. In the EU, the people we vote for, don’t make decisions.
We can kick them out, replace them, you can kick out the Tory MEPs and replace them with Ukip ones, but it doesn’t matter.
The decisions are taken in the European Commission.
With regards to their committees; we don’t know who is on them.
In Brussels and in Strasbourg, there are 30,000 lobbyists.
It’s a stitch-up. These people are behind the project. It’s about pushing the project for the United States of Europe.
The fact is, in continental Europe, they have always understood it.
They have been told by other politicians, they want a United States of Europe.
However, in the UK, nobody has every said that, no professional politician has ever said that.
It’s about wanting to create a single, super state.
Whenever the EU is involved, like with Bosnia, they make it worse. Nato stopped the war.
It wasn’t the EU that brought peace. It was Nato and its 250,000 American troops, and the British troops as well.
Millions of British people have voted for us to say no to staying in Europe.
So we go into the parliament and we vote against extensions of EU legislation.
Nigel Farage for Brexit
IN 1986, I started to think, ‘what is this all about’, and by 1990, I was an outer.
To confess to that was like saying you had a serious social disease. It wasn’t something spoken about.
If you passionately believe in democracy then you can’t back this charade.
On the economic side of it, leaving the EU will take us away from stifling legislation and leave us capable of bring open to friendships globally.
Getting control of our country is vital, and getting control of our borders is vital in this referendum.
It would help get more people into housing, as well as take pressure off primary school places and health services. It would be better for our quality of life, but I believe it would be safer.
There has been a stabbing attack in Munich, at Munich train station, involving someone saying ‘God is Good’ in Arabic.
These are the people who have gone to places like Germany and Sweden, and who will get a EU passport and come to us.
And when the boss of Interpol says that the EU is open to terrorism then I should take him seriously.’
In short, it’s a good reason for Brexit.
Keith Taylor for Remain
What people don’t understand is, the EU is a club.
There are 28 member states in the club. If you think you can meet any club where every single member agrees - you’re living in la-la land.
But we are far better off being part of that club - whether it’s talking about jobs or trade or environment protection.
‘If you vote to leave, nothing is certain.
We have got a right as part of the EU to travel, and the ability to study anywhere in Europe.
The future is uncertain if we start messing about with our membership.
We as the EU are a bloc of 500m people, and that’s far more influential in world terms, than any one single country.
If you look at the environment; 80 per cent out UK law concerning the environment had its origins in the EU.
And it’s often the case, that the EU is leading the way in environmental protection.
We are talking about cleaner beaches, and cleaner air.
People are worried about sovereignty, and saying, why can’t we be like Norway, where they trade with Europe.
But what people don’t understand, or what they have chosen to publicise, is every single Norway citizen contributes 109 euros a year just to access the single market.
Yet in this country, we are paying 140 euros per citizen, and we are also a decision maker. Yet Norway has no say.
And we are leading on and implementing standards for the LGBT people in Europe. Britain is one of the best in terms of promoting LGBT relations.