UK must make clear what it wants, MEPs say in Brexit debate
MEPs today commented on yesterday’s rejection of the Brexit deal in the House of Commons. Most members underlined that the UK must make up its mind and say what it wants.
Click on names of speakers to watch the individual statements.
“We are not dealing with theatre, but real lives of EU and UK citizens. The only certainty we have is an increased uncertainty”, Melania Gabriela Ciot said for the Romanian Council presidency. The EU remains open to talks as long as there is an end in sight, and must prepare for all outcomes, including a no-deal Brexit.
Regardless of the tremendous efforts on the part of the European Union to help, we still have no clarity and we are once again waiting for the next vote in the House of Commons, Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission said. “I don’t see better a solution than the withdrawal agreement. We are in the hands of the British political system - they have to decide how to move forward now.”
EU Brexit chief negotiator Michel Barnier stated that “the responsibility to find a way out lies fair and square with the UK”. He underlined that there will not be any further interpretations or assurances. The withdrawal agreement “is and will remain the only available treaty. The risk of a no-deal has never been higher. I urge you please not to underestimate that risk or its consequences”, Michael Barnier concluded, “but the EU is ready to face the situation if we have to”.
“What a disaster. A whole generation will suffer”, Manfred Weber (EPP, DE) said. “The EU cannot rescue Great Britain; it is up to them to decide. There is no option for any prolongation if we get no clarification from the British side”, he concluded.
Udo Bullmann, (S&D, DE) said. “The House of Commons needs to unite across political groups to find a solution. If the situation remains deadlocked, they have to allow people their say to decide again, as it is their future at stake, not that of MPs”.
Guy VERHOFSTADT (ALDE, BE) said he was against every extension if it is not based on a clear opinion of the House of Commons in favour ofsomething. “Please make up your mind London, this uncertainty cannot continue for us, for Britain, for our citizens”.
Hans-Olaf Henkel (ECR, DE) stated that “the best solution is to keep Britain in the EU”. He underlined that Brexit “is not only a disaster for the UK, but also for the EU.”
Philippe Lamberts (Greens/EFA, BE) focussed on the other topics EU leaders will discuss during next week’s summit. “Leaders are deaf, dumb and blind to the anger of young people on climate change. Wealth is concentrated in an ever-smaller number of hands. This has got to be on leaders’ agenda”
“Theresa May’s strategy is stuck in the mud. We have no plan for an orderly Brexit”, Gabriele Zimmer (GUE/NGL, DE) said. “We have to ring-fence citizen’s rights. Their rights must not be jeopardized”.
“I’m hoping this is my penultimate speech and I won’t be coming back in July. The House of Commons will do their upmost to betray the Brexit vote. The simple solution is that the British request to extend is vetoed”, Nigel Farage (EFD, UK) said.
Gerard Batten (ENF, UK) stressed that Theresa May’s plan was to “delay Brexit and finally overturn it”. The UK government and parliament intend to “betray the will of the people”. “Do us a favour and “kick us out on 29 March”, he concluded.
Melania Gabriela CIOT, Romanian Secretary of State for European Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Frans TIMMERMANS, First Vice-President of the EC
Michel BARNIER, European Commission Chief Negotiator
Manfred WEBER (EPP, DE)
Udo BULLMANN (S&D, DE)
Hans-Olaf HENKEL (ECR, DE)
Guy VERHOFSTADT (ALDE, BE)
Philippe LAMBERTS (Greens/EFA, BE)
Gabriele ZIMMER (GUE/NGL, DE)
Nigel FARAGE (EFDD, UK)
Gerard BATTEN (ENF, UK)
Closing statement by Frans TIMMERMANS, First Vice-President of the EC
Closing statement by Melania Gabriela CIOT, Romanian Secretary of State for European Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs