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Document stages in plenary
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Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 13/12/2017 - 8
CRE 13/12/2017 - 8

Votes :

PV 13/12/2017 - 13.1

Texts adopted :

Wednesday, 13 December 2017 - Strasbourg Revised edition

8. Preparation of the European Council meeting of 14 and 15 December 2017 - State of play of negotiations with the United Kingdom (debate)
Video of the speeches

  Syed Kamall, on behalf of the ECR Group . – Mr President, after last week’s talks, we are finally looking to the future and no longer just looking back at the past. This is a positive step for all of those involved. I know that there will be people on both sides of the English Channel who may not have got everything that they wanted. For some, what was agreed was too much. For others, it will never be enough. But for so many of us in this Chamber, who know the everyday realities of trying to find a deal, we know that where there is compromise, there are concessions.

I believe that the important progress that we saw last week was made when both sides sought to avoid a no-deal situation, when both sides understood the need for flexibility, and when both sides focused on building a better future rather than looking back at the past. I am aware that within this House there were a large number of people that hoped for a different result to the June 2016 referendum in the United Kingdom, including from my own political group and from my own country of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Amongst those people are friendships I value and opinions I greatly respect, but my message to them is simple: Brexit will not change our common interests in trading with each other and with the rest of the world, in sharing intelligence to tackle terrorism and crime, in cooperating on security issues to keep our citizens safe.

I was in Latvia a few weeks ago as they celebrated the 98th anniversary of the British Navy helping the Latvians to defeat the Bermont West Russian army. The Latvian politicians I spoke to stressed the importance of looking to the future and continued military cooperation with the UK through NATO, a future where the UK continues to work with individual European nations as well as continuing to work with the European Union as a whole. A future where the ECR Group, and the Members sat behind me, will continue to be a voice for a reformed Europe, a voice for those who believe in free enterprise, free and fair trade and competition, a voice for those who believe in the freedom of the individual, personal responsibility and greater democratic accountability, a voice for those who believe in respect and equitable treatment for all EU countries, new and old, large and small.

I hope that, last week, the British Prime Minister and Donald Tusk laid the first foundations for the journey ahead. A future where the EU signs a mutually-beneficial trade agreement with the UK, as one of the world’s largest economies, but where we both make the case for open and free trade. A future which reduces the burdens on businesses, allowing them to create jobs, growth and prosperity in all our countries. A future where both the EU and the UK cooperate where we have common challenges to build a better future for all our citizens.

I just wonder whether I could end on a personal note, in response to Manfred’s comments. Manfred, as a Muslim, I fully understand the Christian roots of Europe. But you must not confuse that with Europe being synonymous with Christendom. When I see the lack of diversity in European institutions, you have a long way to go to make those who are not standard white Christian European feel comfortable in Europe. You need to do more work, and do not allow Brexit to blind you to that.

Last updated: 13 April 2018Legal notice