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A new group for Islanders who are passionate about all things European met for the first time at Quay Arts in Newport earlier this month.

Members arranged to get together from the online Facebook group called ‘The 48% – Isle of Wight’ which, since its formation after the referendum last June, has campaigned for Britain’s continued membership of the EU.

‘Islanders for Europe’ is a non-party political group that focuses particularly on local issues that involve Europe and the EU. Members share a positive, outward-facing view of Britain’s membership of the EU and the UK’s connections with Europe as a whole.

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The group also looks at various issues about the EU including dispelling myths, challenging misinformation and looking at the underlying reasons behind the referendum result.

Glenn Koppany, Leading Member for the group said:

“We are positive about the social, cultural and economic benefits. We value people from other countries and everything they bring when they make their new home here on the Island. We want those people to feel welcome and we want to highlight what an important part they play in our communities working in the care industry, the NHS and farming, for example.”

Acknowledging the emotive issues that arose from the referendum result, members also wish to meet up with interested and concerned groups on the Island to promote dialogue and understanding, and link up with those feeling disaffected or isolated.

Glenn added:

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“Over the past year many people with European connections have faced abuse, aggression and a stream of negative rhetoric from sections of the public, the media and officialdom. So we are looking at setting up social events where people can feel supported, share their experiences and celebrate our love of being European.”

If you are interested in any of these issues then you are invited to attend the next informal get-together at 18:30 on Tuesday 8th August at Quay Arts Centre Café. As part of ‘We Love Europe Cinema’, Quay Arts are showing Open Your Eyes (Spain) – free entry starting at 19:30 – so anyone wishing to attend the meeting and go on to the cinema afterwards can do so.

Further information can be found at the Facebook page or by joining the Facebook group The 48% – Isle of Wight.

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