UK citizens including those that have been living outside the country for 15 years or less will soon have a vote to decide whether the country remains in the European Union. Here the High Commissioner to Cyprus outlines the process for registering to vote and UK government policy.
“By Ric Todd
The referendum to determine whether the UK remains part of the EU is due to take place on June 23. The government is clear that Britain would be safer, stronger and better off inside a reformed EU:
- Safer in a reformed Europe, because we can work with our European partners to fight cross border crime and terrorism;
- Stronger in a reformed Europe because we can play a leading role in one of the world’s largest organisations from within, helping to make the big decisions on trade and security that determine our future;
- And better off in a reformed Europe because British businesses will have full access to the free trade single market, bringing jobs, investment and lower prices;
All British citizens living overseas who wish to vote in this referendum are encouraged to register at the earliest opportunity by clicking here , ideally by May 19, in order to have their say.
Postal votes will be posted to overseas addresses between May 23-27. If you are worried about not receiving postal votes in time to vote, we encourage voters to consider appointing a proxy vote, where they appoint someone they trust in the UK to vote on their behalf. This can also be done on the above website.
As I travel around Cyprus meeting British citizens, I receive many questions about what a vote to leave the EU might mean for them. I would therefore like to highlight a number of policy papers the government has issued about the options on the table. These may assist in addressing the kinds of questions many of you may have. They can be accessed on the Cabinet Office website:
- The best of both worlds:
- Models for the UK outside the European Union:
- The process for withdrawing from the EU:
The case to remain
The Prime Minister firmly believes that Britain will be stronger remaining in a reformed Europe than we would be out on our own. Our global influence is enhanced by being a leading member of the world’s largest trading bloc. We can play a leading role in one of the world’s largest organisations from within, helping to make the big decisions inside the EU – as we have been on Russian sanctions, bringing Iran in from the cold, and tackling people smuggling in the Mediterranean.
Throughout our history, our strength as a nation has come from looking beyond our shores and reaching out to the world. And today the EU, like NATO and the UN, is a vital tool for Britain – just as it is for other member states – to boost our influence and multiply our ability to advance our common interests.
Secondly, the UK Government believes that Britain will be safer remaining in a reformed Europe than we would be out on our own. Today we – like other member states – face a myriad of threats to our security, from terrorism to organised crime, from human trafficking to cyber attacks. We defeat these threats by working together, by the closest possible co-operation between countries, especially with our EU partners.
And finally, the UK Government believes that Britain will also be better off remaining in a reformed Europe because British businesses will have full access to the free trade single market of 500 million people.
Ric Todd is the British High Commissioner to Cyprus. This is an abridged version of an article that first appeared on a British government website and in the Cyprus Weekly, you can read the full version click here