Never Let Me Go: Why Fellow Europeans Should Tell Britons That We Need Them

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The Brexit vote has had a huge impact not only on many Britons, but also on continental Europeans, and this impact continues to be traumatic because there seems to be no room given for further reflection or dialogue.

The vote in favour of Leave resulted from a range of social, political and economic discontents, but as proved by the debate that has recently taken place at the House of Lords it is not necessarily to be intended as a categorical pronunciation in favour of Hard Brexit. Although we fellow Europeans deeply respect British democracy, we should make our voices heard in the name of all we have in common, not only of the past, but even more of the future.

We warmly invite both the UK Parliament and the EU Parliament to adopt the most constructive attitude to negotiations, but we also wish our British friends - the voters, the workers, the elderly and above all the young - to know that as fellow Europeans we need them to remain as close as possible to us.

Creating boundaries between the UK and the rest of Europe will inevitably engender huge social, economic and cultural changes, both in Britain and in the rest of Europe. Is this what we really want?

Let us find the courage to recognize that we need each other. This is the only beneficial way ahead.

Fellow Europeans cannot just watch in silence while this process is taking place. While respecting the autonomy and sovereignty of each nation, we feel the right and duty to send you a message in favour of transnational unity and cohesion.

It is up to politicians to find a way to translate this into action, but we need to tell each other that we feel part of a social and cultural supranational community. Economics cannot be the only factor.

Young Europeans from both sides of the Channel should still find themselves at home on both sides of the Channel and benefit from the expansive opportunities the Erasmus exchange and other forms of transnational connections provide. Let us not revert to a geopolitical order based on nationalism. Let Europe be a laboratory for integration and exchange. As the ancients wisely claimed, "United We Stand".

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