PES welcomes the agreement with the UK, worried about workers’ rights
The European progressives welcome the attainment of an agreement for a revised relationship with the UK. The deal can provide firm ground to pursue our common policies and we now look forward to knowing the verdict of the British people, based on a final fixed document that will constitute the basis for a deep national debate in the UK ahead of the referendum. However, after examining the final deal, the Party of European Socialists is concerned that the free movement of people has been challenged and that, furthermore, the equality of all EU citizens in front of the law has been hurt. The intention of the UK government to cut the rights of migrant workers of other EU countries and of their families remains disturbing. The negotiated period of 7 years is arbitrary, unjust and it doesn't respond to the UK's economic reality. The President of the Party of European Socialists, Sergei Stanishev, said: “Non-discrimination is not only a core value of the EU, it is also a precondition for democracy. I am glad that arguments made by the Labour Party and Trade Unions ensured that hard won rights under the social chapter were not bartered away but I am concerned that the European workers have been taken hostage by the UK government during these negotiations. We believe that no such discrimination is to be tolerated, regardless of our support to the UK remaining in the EU." The European Union is an alliance that has brought peace and prosperity to our continent for over half a century. We, the European Socialists and Democrats, want to see the British people continue to be part of a modernised European Union, but we are not ready to trade off our core principles. We want a Europe that creates growth and jobs and solves the problems of its people, one that allows Europeans move freely from Paris to Berlin or London, from Prague to Warsaw or Budapest; one that treats its citizens equally, without discrimination, a Europe that projects solidarity within its borders and towards the rest of the world. Further divisions will not lead us out of the current crises, only unity and a common purpose will. We encourage the British public to have an extensive debate ahead of the referendum, as they decide on the kind of relationship they want to have with the rest of Europe for the following generation."