Post-Brexit, the entire nation has gone out-and-out gaga. Remain voters are demanding another referendum. Even some Leave voters – now called Regrexiters – are also demanding another referendum. The entire political establishment is running round in circles as Brussels keeps asking when and who is going to push the big Article 50 button. So in this time of high passions and national divide, we stopped to reflect for a minute and asked just what exactly HAS Europe ever given us? Are we really going to miss the Union that much? (Spoiler: yes.)
Sometimes among the traditional British dishes on our menus – liver and onions, suet pudding – you’ll find a few weird European imports. Things like pizza. And pasta. And tapas. Not that they’ll ever catch on.
Wine, wheat beer, champagne, sangria, port, prosecco, grappa, sherry, ouzo, schnapps – and just a few hundred others.
The international exchange programme that’s had European students sharing ideas, values and STDs since 1987.
4. Decent coffee
Back in the 1950s, the espresso machine was introduced to Soho by Italian immigrants, and became an essential part of the area’s bohemian explosion.
5. Jean Paul Gaultier
One of the few members of the fashion world that actually seems to get how funny the whole thing is.
6. Our language
No, English wasn’t invented by a BBC committee in the 1930s; it’s actually a mish-mash of French, Latin and pretty much every other culture that’s ever set foot on these shores.
Ah, those fond memories of family holidays in Northern France the early ’90s. Bliss.
8. Calais booze runs
Slightly less blissful memories.
9. Nearly everything inside our museums
Although, post-Brexit, we’re surely giving the Elgin Marbles back to Greece, right? Right?
10. Nicolas Sarkozy’s elevator shoes
Way before The Donald's combover ever entered the political scene, Nic was playing his own tricks.
11. Bunga Bunga
Once a reference to ex-Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi’s infamous sex parties; now a vibrant drinking spot in Battersea. Now THAT’S cultural enrichment.
As essential to the British summer as wasp stings and lukewarm Carling, this ice-cream cone was created by in 1950s Naples.
Before chugging mushroom shakes in Thailand became a viable alternative, train travel around Europe was everyone’s number one choice for gap-year adventure.
14. Christoph Waltz
Pfff, whatever. We’ve got our very own charismatic movie villain, Alan… oh.
15. Arséne Wenger
Now Roy Hodgson’s fallen on his sword, the legendary Arsenal manager looks like the chief contender for the England manager job.
16. Ankara fabric
Often assumed to be African in origin, this bright, patterned fabric in fact originated in Holland.
The seller of the best chorizo this side of the Pyrenees (seriously, if you haven’t had it BUY SOME NOW) originated in Germany in the 1930s.
18. The name ‘Farage’
It’s Huguenot. Look it up.
19. The city’s tallest building
The Shard came courtesy of Italian architect Renzo Piano.
20. All-night restaurants
Perfect after those late-night cafés.
21. Cycle lanes
These originated in the Netherlands at the end of the nineteenth century.
22. Free access to the museums and galleries
Like in London (for now), many of Europe's finest institutions are free of charge, and open to all.
23. A few tedious bits of employment legislation
Like minimum paid leave, equal pay, extended maternity and paternity rights, and anti-discrimination measures.
25. Pure, simple excitement
Try walking through Barcelona’s La Mercé festival, or driving across the Swiss-Italian border in the Alps, or partying at a 24-hour Berlin nightclub, and not feel that to be European is to be part of something special. Just try.