This post is slightly off our normal topic of yarn, patterns and other making related things. This post is no less relevant though and no less important to myself and to A Yarn Story. Just three days from now, on the 23rd of June, UK citizens will be voting on whether or not they would like to stay a part of the European Union (EU).
Now, if you don't live here in the UK then this may not be something that has been a frequent topic of dinner table conversation. It is a hot button topic here and a critical vote in an era of uncertainty. There have been two central topics taking center stage in the debate the economy and migration.
One of the amazing luxuries of the EU has been open migration among citizens of the EU member states. It is the reason I, as a holder of a German passport, I was able to move to Germany in 2005, move from there to Ireland in 2012 and then move to the UK in 2013. I have not only been able to travel freely within the EU but also move to and work in each of those countries. And here in the UK I have even been able to set up my own business. None of this would have been possible without the EU.
Now, onto why this all matters to A Yarn Story - the life cycle of many of our favorite yarns involves traveling across borders within the EU. Whether that is to be scoured, spun or dyed - the yarn on our shelves often travels quite a bit before it ends up becoming a beautiful hand-knit shawl. Part of how I can stock the shelves with some of your favorite yarns is because of the ease of trade within the EU. As many of you know, it can take several weeks when receiving orders or product from North America, there are customs processes and charges, VAT, import duties etc. That makes products produced in those locations more difficult to stock and typically more expensive. Within the EU products flow more freely between member states which makes it much easier. Not only does it allow me as a shop to source in products from other EU countries with ease, it allows you to order over the internet without any hassle. Those beautiful skeins of La Bien Aímee that you picked up in their last shop update - might be a lot harder to get after Thursday if the UK votes to leave.
Now part of why this is such an important and heated issue is because no one really knows what will happen if the UK decides to vote to leave. Big promises are being made but there isn't a tangible plan in place. My personal prediction is that at a minimum there is going to be a lot more paperwork. A lot of paperwork and fees in order to be able to stay living and working in the UK. More paperwork and fees when ordering goods or services from EU countries. That may sound small and minor but bureaucracy and paperwork cost an awful lot of time and money. I may also just be asked to leave the country all together. But really, what happens if the UK leaves the EU on Thursday is a big unknown, a rather scary unknown with far flung consequences for years to come.
On a last and more personal note, I hope the UK decides to remain in the EU because the concept of the EU is a grand one. Countries came together with a hope and vision of a future that would be better if they worked together towards common goals. If they laid down basic laws of human rights, if they opened up borders and shared with one another, if they helped each other out. I think the world is a better place for the EU and a better place anytime we choose to help one another and be more open.
So Thursday, 23 June 2016 is going to be a very big day here in Europe and I do hope that voters choose to remain a part of the EU.