The UK and the other EU countries would be better off staying together, Martin Schulz told heads of state and government at the start of a European Council on 18-19 February dedicated to migration and the UK’s demands of a reform of its EU membership. The EP President said: “In the globalised 21st century we need the UK more than ever and we are convinced that the UK will be better off as part of the European Union.”
Schulz said faced with today’s economic and security challenges it made sense for European countries to stick together: “If we Europeans part ways we should make no mistake about the consequences.”
However, although Parliament was in favour of the UK staying in the Union, Schulz said there were still a number of concerns about the changes asked for by the country such as a safeguard mechanism for welfare benefits and more protection for non-euro member states. President Schulz also insisted that the door could not be shut to further integration. “In a complex world the EU needs to be stronger. And being stronger will invariably mean that at least some will need to integrate more closely.” he said.
The summit also looks at further measures to deal with the increased migration to Europe. Schulz referred to it as a “crisis of solidarity” and said that more resources should go to countries bearing the brunt of the influx of refugees: “It is high time that everyone takes their individual responsibilities, but we also must step up to our shared responsibilities.”