With the EU referendum coming up on the 23rd June, it seems every walk of life has become a battleground for supporters of the prospective campaigns.
Every day the the news is fed with another brexit battleground, from healthcare to border control, security to the Premier League and back.
It is now time for the University card to be played, after trade body Universities UK found that students from the EU, boosted the economy of the South-East region by £420 million.
The figures produced suggest a high dependency on the EU student pound. This has resulted in “vote remain” campaigners, warning voters about the risk of potentially loosing this revenue from foreign students.
The report also highlighted students at the University of Portsmouth’s role in the local economy. The figures reveal that more than 1,000 EU students began at the University last year, bringing £6 million a year to the local economy. This is generated through accommodation, fees, on and off campus spending, and local service costs.
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt has her own doubts about the figures produced. Questioning the reaction provoked by the report she said: “It is crazy to suggest that being able to study here is entirely contingent on our membership of the EU.”
“‘EU students are of enormous benefit to Portsmouth. They culturally enrich the city and contribute to the university through a wide range of research projects, fees and by supporting a wide range of courses”
She went on to say that the EU is: “sacrificing an entire generation of young people, with some nations having more than 60 per cent youth unemployment, due to forced harmonisation in the Eurozone. It is an outrage.”
The battle lines have therefore been set in this debate. With a growing amount of UK students now studying at Universities in Europe, such as Groningen in the Netherlands, saving an estimated £50,000, and 250 EU students at the university on exchange initiatives, can this view really be justified?
Detailing the positive aspects of EU students at the University of Portsmouth, regional manager at the University’s International Office Kathryn Land, said: “‘EU students are of enormous benefit to Portsmouth. They culturally enrich the city and contribute to the university through a wide range of research projects, fees and by supporting a wide range of courses.”
This backs up the general view from within the university, that EU students are incredibly important for the university and wider community. To gage the University of Portsmouth student’s opinions on the matter, and the wider view of the EU, we posed the question: ‘How will you be voting in the EU referendum’, through our Twitter handle @GalleonNews.
The results of our Twitter poll concluded that 79% of the 53 voters would vote to remain in the EU and 21% opting for the leave option.
Therefore, the voters are significantly more in the camp of the EU student’s involvement, enrichment and economic boost to the city than Mordaunt’s point of view.