For British students, discussion on the EU boils down to several issues, one being Erasmus. The myth being pedalled by the NUS is that, if we leave the EU, all opportunities for students to study abroad will cease overnight. Yet from Chiba University in Japan to the University of Campinas in Brazil, the Erasmus programme extends far beyond EU member states.
Simply put, no students planning to head to the EU whether in the interim period or longer term after we voted to leave would be affected.
On freedom of movement too, for those studying or working here through legal means, under international law their situation would not change after a leave vote. A fair agreement of mutual benefit would be reached so that any student would be able to reap the benefits of international exchange, in the same way as thousands of Britons who study outside the EU in the USA, Canada or New Zealand, do now.
This is especially the case when, according to The Times, six out of the world's top twenty-five universities are in the UK, whilst the EU has none. Furthermore we already see visa-free access to the EU permitted to citizens from Chile to Canada. Outside, we can build a more progressive system of immigration attracting talent from India, China and beyond on a meritocratic basis, rather than whether you have an EU passport.
In relation to minority rights, sixteen out of the twenty-eight EU states have failed to legalise same-sex marriage, whilst on equal pay and other worker's rights, the UK continues to legislate ahead of EU benchmarks.
As a net contributor to the EU budget, we could set our own priorities on science and research if we left, whilst engaged with the principal Horizon 2020 programme that includes non-EU countries from Georgia to Switzerland.
The latter is in fact home to CERN and receives the greatest proportion of such funding despite rejecting EU membership. Elsewhere, directives on clinical trials and energy have restricted British competiveness and innovation in these sectors, reducing our impact on the world stage.
Far from a growing market we are currently shackled to a shrinking political union whose share of world trade has plunged from 37% in 1973 to 17% today, despite forcing crippling austerity on the Eurozone that has pushed youth unemployment over 50%. As the fifth largest economy in the world, a leading member of the G7 and G20 group of economies, EU customs policy prevents us from signing our own free-trade agreements, controlling tariffs or VAT on items such as tampons.
We have the fourth largest military budget on the planet and help lead the path to world peace and security through the organs of NATO and a permanent seat upon the UN Security Council, without the need for an EU army. As such, this referendum is more than about a single Parliament, but the next twenty to thirty years.
Whether on trade, higher education and beyond the out-dated European Union espouses narrow regionalism in an increasingly globalised world.
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