After more than 40 years together, British citizens have decided to part ways with the European Union. It is a decision that saddens me, but at least it clarifies what has been a complex and at times ambiguous relationship.
EU Heads of State and Government and leaders of EU institutions have now a duty to provide the maximum degree of legal, political and economic certainty to the citizens they represent. The start of the withdrawal procedure must take place immediately and the negotiations between the UK and the EU must be speedy: there is no time for delays.
Throughout its history, Britain’s outward-looking approach and attachment to freedom have been an inspiration and bulwark for Europe. The UK will leave a European Union which it helped shape, but I am convinced that the values of that Britain, of that outward, liberal and daring Britain will continue to inspire us.
The Leave campaign claimed that these distinctively British values and open relations are better pursued and advanced outside the European Union. My conviction is that in a world of increasingly regional blocs, our values, opportunities, interests and identities are better protected and advanced by sticking together. Many in the UK shared this view and it is both a source of comfort and sadness to know that young British voters, the ones who will be most affected, overwhelmingly stood on the side of Remain.
One of the reasons which moved British voters was the sense of disconnect and unfairness brought by rapid globalisation which has changed the world radically in a matter of two decades. The European Union must be an instrument to shape globalisation, to make it fairer. We must redouble our efforts to fight against those who compete unfairly, who tweak the rules, who evade and elude taxes, who collectivise losses and privatise profits. The lesson I take from this referendum is that we have to reform the EU to make it fairer, not dismantle it. It is our duty to show that the unity between the EU’s 27 Member States is stronger than our divisions.
The European Parliament will stand on the side of unity and reform. The conference of Presidents of political group leaders has today decided to convene an extraordinary plenary session for next Tuesday in Brussels with the aim of adopting a resolution setting out clearly the Parliament’s objectives.
Our Union might not be perfect. The list of reforms needed is there and must be addressed. But it has delivered more than sixty years of peace and prosperity to its citizens and it can continue to do so. The key is reform for new ambition not unwinding. The European Union is our common house and an ideal past generations fought hard for. The European Parliament will continue to defend it.
24/06/2016 15:41 - facebook