PES still hopes for fair Brexit, avoiding disaster

28/03/2017 - As a pro-European party, we deeply regret the decision of the UK to leave the European Union.

Theresa May & Jean-Claude Juncker

Commenting on the UK government's plan to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, PES president Sergei Stanishev said:

"The months ahead will be challenging for Britain and for the EU. But progressive parties across Europe, linked by the Party of European Socialists, are united in their clear priorities for the forthcoming negotiations over the Brexit process.

"Firstly, we want the rights of millions of EU citizens living in the UK, and UK citizens living in Europe, to be protected as a priority.

"Secondly, we are clear that the four freedoms of the single market are indivisible and must be respected. If Britain is not willing to respect them, it cannot remain a member of the single market. The UK government seems to think it can have as beneficial a relationship with the EU from outside as it already enjoys as a full member, but I cannot see how this can be possible.

"Thirdly, Brexit must not threaten workers’ rights, social protections or equality and human rights that the British people currently enjoy from both EU membership and UK national law.

"Fourthly, we look forward to an early agreement by both sides on the principles by which the UK’s outstanding financial commitments can be resolved.

"Finally, we do not believe that the risks of Brexit to peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland are sufficiently well understood by the UK government. Whatever final deal is agreed must preserve the hard-fought settlement, enshrined in the Good Friday agreement, that have brought a generation of peace of Northern Ireland."

Mr Stanishev added:

"It is increasingly clear that Theresa May’s intended approach to Brexit will be disastrous for citizens of both the UK and the EU. We still hope to achieve a fair Brexit, and we will work closely with our partners in the UK Labour party, the SDLP and European trade unions to fight the attempt by British Conservatives to water down vital social protections."