Brexit will never break EU-UK progressive bonds

31/01/2020

S&D au revoir event, European Parliament, January 2020

Theresa Griffin MEP, European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, S&D President Iratxe García, European Parliament President David Sassoli, Richard Corbett MEP, and PES President Sergei Stanishev at the S&D Au Revoir event in the European Parliament, 29 January 2020

The PES marks with sadness the UK’s exit from the European Union after 47 years of membership.

UK Labour MEPs may be leaving the European Parliament, but they will continue to fight for progressive values in the UK – equality, fairness, democracy, and sustainability - and UK Labour will continue to be a valued full member party of the PES.

Socialists and social democrats in Europe will always hold out the hand of friendship to the UK – the home of many great progressives who have influenced our political family, like Clement Attlee and Aneurin Bevan. Another, UK Labour leader John Smith, was a signatory to the agreement which founded the PES in 1992.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“The 23 June 2016 was a sad day for the EU. But today, the moment that decision takes effect, is perhaps even sadder. As I have said before, a whole country was sacrificed because of internal issues in the British Conservatives and the arrogance of David Cameron. Nevertheless, we respect the democratic decision of the people of the UK.

“Over the next 11 months the UK government will have to decide how close a relationship it wants with the EU. Regardless of what happens, UK Labour will remain a valued part of the PES progressive family. Brexit will never break the bonds between progressives in the EU and UK.”

At this juncture, it is also important that the EU reflects on what more it can do to stay close to its citizens. Europe must never become complacent, the EU must constantly reaffirm the benefits of member states working together. Progressives believe austerity must end in favour of investing in people. We want to use the power of the EU to ensure strong social rights for everyone, and support cohesion across the continent.