Just 100 days from now, most of us will cast the most important vote we have ever made. A choice is approaching - whether we keep Britain stronger, safer and better off as a member of the European Union, or put jobs and security in jeopardy by choosing to leave and take a leap in the dark. The choice will affect your job, your studies, your ability to travel abroad. And it will affect our country's economy, security, and very position in the world.
I know that being in Europe creates jobs and growth in our country not through reading some economics journal or company report, but through personal experience. Along with two friends, I started the smoothie company Innocent Drinks on a market stall. Now, we employ hundreds of people in Britain, selling our smoothies all over the world. Being in the EU was vital to our success, because Europe's free trade single market lets us sell across Europe without having to worry about import taxes, red tape, and differing regulations.
Being part of this huge market, which buys 45% of everything we sell abroad, also keeps prices in the shops lower. We do not have to pay taxes on goods imported from Europe, which could cost our country £11billion a year according to independent research. The size of the single market means more companies can fight to give a better deal to British consumers.
In a dangerous and fast-changing world, our closeness to our European allies makes Britain stronger and safer. The European Arrest Warrant lets us quickly deport people EU citizens who have committed crimes in Britain back to their home countries. Institutions like Europol and Eurojust allow our police and prosecutors to work closely together with their European counterparts to fight terrorism and cross-border crime. And as senior military figures have argued, being in Europe makes us stronger in facing down Russia and playing a meaningful role on the world stage.
The case for remaining in Europe is about our comfort and relaxation, not just Britain's global strength and security. Perhaps the most obvious and concrete benefit of British membership of the EU is our ability to travel across Europe. Whether you want to work in Germany, study in France or enjoy some sunshine in Spain, EU rules guarantee healthcare, equal treatment with locals, cheaper flights and lower roaming charges for Brits. While at home, the EU laws that Leave campaigners love to hate provide paid maternity leave, paid holiday and equal treatment for temporary workers here in Britain.
Respectfully asking those who want to leave Europe what the alternative to membership actually is is not scaremongering - it is responsible campaigning. Europe is our closest neighbour, our largest trading partner, and a vital security partner. What would our trade relationship with Europe be if we left? Would we seek to remain in the single market, and thus accept free movement of people and most EU law without any say in how it is made? Or would we quit the single market, and face damaging tariffs and restrictions being place on our exports? If we left, we would fall out of institutions like Europol - how would this security relationship be resurrected? Leave campaigners have not provided satisfactory answers to any of these questions, as they lurch from one alternative model to another. The truth is that if we vote to leave, we will lose control.
Referendums are won by people getting out, talking to one another and spreading the word that Britain is stronger, safer and better off in Europe. With just 100 days to go, time is running out. Don't hesitate - sign up to our campaign and play your part to keep Britain stronger in Europe.
Richard Reed is Deputy Chairman of Britain Stronger In Europe and co-founder of Innocent Drinks
More:UK Politics Business UK Economy EU Referendum: Results, Polls, And Latest News Britain Stronger In Europe
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