Young European Movement Comments on Boris Johnson’s Brexit speech

Published on February 15, 2018

YEM logoComment from the Young European Movement (YEM) - who are running an anti-Brexit campaign, The 75 Percent - on Boris Johnson’s Brexit speech on 14 February 2018.

Juuso Järviniemi, YEM President, said:

“We, at the Young European Movement, watched Boris Johnson’s speech with great interest. We liked the fact that he acknowledged ‘some people are becoming ever more determined to stop Brexit’. On this point - only this point - we agree. We know he’s right, because we are the people who are in it to stop Brexit and we speak for the great majority of young people across the country by doing so.

“Johnson’s speech claimed that stopping Brexit ‘would be a disastrous mistake that would lead to permanent and ineradicable feelings of betrayal’. But this is what young people feel like already. The overwhelming majority of young people backed remain, and it’s easy to see why.

“Young people are the most deeply affected by Brexit, and would have to live with its ramifications the longest, despite rejecting it at the ballot box. Against a background of tuition fee debt and the prospect of never owning our own home we cannot afford to suffer the worsening living standards that Brexit would bring and is already bringing - the economy will be up to 10% smaller in some regions.

“A huge amount of money is given by the EU to UK universities and the EU enables the ERASMUS exchange programme. A third of the University of Sheffield’s overall funding comes from the EU - much of this funding came from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme which manages a budget of €77 billion, that the UK disproportionately benefits from. The UK must remain in Horizon 2020’s successor, FP9, so that universities - and by extension the young people studying there - continue to benefit.

We don’t think of Europeans in the UK as immigrants out to steal our jobs - and given the UK’s appalling youth employment rate we have every reason to be angry. Instead we think of them as fellow students, as colleagues, as our friends. Because that’s what they are to us. We don’t want you to send our friends away.

“For this and a variety of other reasons Britain’s young people feel betrayed. Our ideal future relationship with Europe will be for the UK to remain inside the European Union. Boris Johnson’s speech shows that Brexit is failing Britain’s young people and he should spare a thought for us when he talks of betrayal.”


Notes to editors:

For further comment contact:

Juuso Järviniemi at [email protected]; tel: +358452202719


Eoin Burgin at [email protected]; tel: +447392325691

Campaign website:

Campaign social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are under @the75percent.

The Young European Movement UK (YEM UK), formed in 1972, is part of the European Movement UK. It is a non-partisan platform for under 35s to express their opinions on Europe. YEM UK is run by a network of enthusiastic members who volunteer their time to organise events, promote campaigns and work with partner organisations.

Links to sources:

PDF "Research and innovation funding: making a real difference"

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