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Keeping Britain in Europe

Image: Chris Griffith [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

What impact would the UK leaving the EU have on British universities? Rachel Hall reports from Brussels.

The coming year will see renewed debate about the possibility of the UK leaving the 28-nation EU. Eurosceptics argue that withdrawal would control immigration and save money; Europhiles counter that it would lead to deep economic uncertainty and cost jobs. For university leaders, it will be a year of trying to balance two competing pressures: the provision of objective analysis to inform the debate; and making the business case for continued membership.

Decisions taken will influence both the UK’s future as well as the future of British universities. Indeed, Fabian Zuleeg, chief executive of the European Policy Centre, a Brussels-based think tank that seeks to make European integration work, says if the UK left the EU, it would undermine what he sees as the future of higher education: “It’s about freedom of knowledge, and freedom of knowledge means freedom of people,” he says. “We need to keep open societies.”

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