Although it is bound to be something of a bittersweet occasion, Europe Day celebrating peace and unity in Europe is today (9th May). It also serves as a reminder of the benefits UK business has enjoyed since membership of the European Economic Community, and subsequently the European Union.
Institutions which were born out of a desire for overcoming trade and other barriers and setting standards – in short improving ordinary people’s lives.
It’s a cause I feel closely aligned to in my role with and support of the European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs (EU), also known as Yes for Europe.
It’s fair to say that the impact of a united Europe has touched all of our lives. In the education sector, for example, universities have benefitted from research grants and investment, while thousands of British students study at European universities every year and vice versa as part of the Erasmus programme.
Another essential, healthcare, has also benefitted tremendously from our inclusion in the EU.
With our European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) we can access healthcare across Europe in the same way citizens of European countries can. And while countries are responsible for their own healthcare policies and systems, the EU has done admirable work in the public health arena to address serious diseases such as cancer and HIV, combat drug abuse and promote healthy lifestyles for all. How’s that for equality?
The benefits to small business have been plentiful too: tariff-free trading, free movement of labour, financial support for thousands of SMEs, EU budgets earmarked for research and innovation…the list goes on.
And while the UK is seen as a hotbed for entrepreneurship and starting a business, many countries in Europe have also taught us a thing or two.
I’ve seen this clearly in my role with Yes for Europe. The organisation aims to connect young entrepreneurs throughout Europe, promoting co-operation and increasing entrepreneurship. The breadth and depth of members’ innovation and commitment is pretty inspirational.
A project that Yes for Europe has been involved in, World in Words, is an online business English vocabulary tool, and the perfect example of pooling a staggering amount of knowledge for the good of the future business community.
If you too feel that Yes for Europe reflects your view of the future of entrepreneurship in Europe, particularly at this crossroads in its history, please support us. You can do this as a supporter, friend or corporate supporter, and in return membership will offer you opportunities to exchange ideas and get involved in useful projects, particularly if you’re in the process of setting up a business.
Yes for Europe celebrated its 30th birthday last year, so let’s ensure it continues to inspire and unite for the next 30 and beyond, retaining ties within Europe and keeping those barriers well and truly down.