‘Brexit makes us sad and worried’ - a letter from the mayor of Norwich’s twin town Koblenz

Koblenz Avenue next to Carrow Road in Norwich. Photo: Archant

Koblenz Avenue next to Carrow Road in Norwich. Photo: Archant - Credit: ©Archant Photographic 2010

Dear Friends in our Twin Town of Norwich,

According to recent polls many citizens of the United Kingdom are in favour of a so-called 'Brexit', which means that the UK would leave the European Union. This makes us sad and worried.

We are grateful for over 70 years of peace and economic growth within Europe, we are proud of this diverse and pluralistic European Union that we have build together.

For us, the UK and the British citizens are an essential part of this successful project and we cannot image a European Union without you. We agree that the current status, the EU finds itself in, is not perfect and that improvements are necessary. Nonetheless, we clearly see that advantages of being a member of the EU weight much higher.

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The Freedom of Movement that we have achieved within the EU is a gift that allows our children to be Europeans while maintaining their national and regional roots. The many European exchange programs for school children, students and young people have made a vast contribution to mutual understanding and respect within the EU.

The EU member states are currently faced with complex challenges. Nevertheless, blaming the European Union for all kinds of difficulties is the wrong way. We are convinced that we can live up to these challenges much better if we are united, within a strong European Union and with Great Britain as a member of the European family.

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The successful cross-border collaboration between Koblenz and Norwich since 1978 means a lot to us. Of course, we will continue to cooperate and celebrate our partnership with you regardless of the outcome of your upcoming referendum on June 23.

However, it is up to us to reform and improve this Union to the benefit of people who live in our towns and districts.

Let us therefore not dismantle, but rather continue to build our common European house together, as Europeans with diverse national identities in open and frank dialogue. We need you, and we are counting on you!

Your Friends in Koblenz,

Joachin Hofmann-Göttig

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