European culture, sport and science stars urge Britons to 'please stay' in EU


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, Abba songwriter Bjorn Ulvaeus and multiple Michelin Star chef Raymond Blanc are European stars urging Britain to "please stay" in the European Union.

They are among more than 140 stars from the world of culture, sport and science to sign a letter to the Times Literary Supplement (TLS) urging voters to vote Remain on June 23.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

The signatories include winners of the Nobel Prize, the Academy Awards and the Palme D'Or as well as the Fields Medal for mathematics amongst other names from a wide variety of occupations.

Some, like restaurateur Blanc and long-standing Gunners boss Wenger, have long-running connections to the UK.

The letter, published in the TLS on Thursday, says: "It (the vote) is your decision, and we will all accept it.

"Nevertheless, if it will help the undecided to make up their minds, we would like to express how very much we value having the United Kingdom in the European Union.

Raymond Blanc stands next to a Eurostar train

"It is not just treaties that join us to your country, but bonds of admiration and affection.

"All of us hope that you will vote to renew them. Britain, please stay."

Actors to put their name to the letter include Swedish Thor and Avengers actor Stellan Skarsgard, French Highlander star Christopher Lambert, model and actress Isabella Rossellini, and French actress and director Julie Delpy.

They are joined by Paul Verhoeven, the Oscar-nominated Dutch director of films including Basic Instinct, Showgirls and RoboCop.

Stellan Skarsgard at a press conference

Sport signatories include Wenger and his fellow Frenchman Gerard Houllier, the former manager of Liverpool. They are joined by Arsenal's German defender Per Mertesacker and the French ex-Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf.

Former France and Wasps flanker Serge Betsen has signed the letter, as has Clemens Auersperg, an Austrian rower who was part of Cambridge's 2016 Boat Race-winning team crew.

Alongside Abba's Ulvaeus, the letter was signed by Charles Dumont, the composer of Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien, famously sung in 1960 by Edith Piaf.

From the world of science signatories include Uta Frith, the pioneering London-based autism expert, and the Fields Medal-winning mathematicians Cedric Villani and Wendelin Werner.

The letter was sent by Philippe Auclair, Apostolos Doxiadis and Robert Rotifer, who described themselves as "three European citizens, an Austrian, a Frenchman and a Greek, who got together one evening and wrote a short letter to the British people".

They added: "We believe that the sheer variety and number of signatories demonstrates the point we set out to make in our letter: just how wide and deep is the affection felt for Britain across our shared continent."