Greens hope new Brexit extension will prevent ‘radical rupture’

Written by Martin Banks on 12 April 2019 in News
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The Greens say the Brexit extension agreed this week will hopefully prevent a “radical rupture” that would seriously damage long-term relations between the UK and the EU.

Brexit-themed artwork by Frank O'Dea | Photo credit: Press Association


Both the UK and the EU agreed on a "flexible extension" of Brexit until 31 October during an emergency summit meeting in Brussels.

Reaction on Thursday, soon after the summit ended, came from the European Green Party co-leading candidate and the Greens/EFA Group co-president in the European Parliament, Ska Keller.

The German MEP said: “The medium-length extension compromise until October is far from perfect, but we hope it will allow Europeans living in the UK and British in Europe some assurances that their leaders have veered away from a radical rupture that would seriously jeopardise long-term relations.”


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“In the UK, the House of Commons has repeatedly been unable to find a majority for the withdrawal agreement or any other proposed solution through the indicative voting process.”

“If Parliament cannot find a solution then the best way to resolve the situation would be to put it back to the people with a second referendum. Ultimately, we all win from a calm, orderly solution to Brexit based on the best interests of the people,” she added.

Further comment came from her Dutch colleague Bas Eickhout who said, “The extension until 31 October means the UK will now participate in the European elections at the end of May.”

“Green party MEPs from the UK are much more strongly represented in the European Parliament as they are not penalised by the first-past-the-post electoral system that dramatically reduces their impact at a national level. Their contribution to European politics has been significant and their presence highly valued.”

“Ultimately, we all win from a calm, orderly solution to Brexit based on the best interests of the people” Ska Keller MEP

“The UK Government must now guarantee that the infrastructure is put in place to ensure the smooth running of the European elections.  They must be conducted in an organised way that fully respects a cooperative spirit and the democratic right for all citizens to be represented at European level. Crucially, we cannot allow the next Commission to be paralysed by Brexit and distract it from meeting its environmental, social and democratic challenges, which must come first.”

Elsewhere, UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has been holding talks with Prime Minister Theresa May over Brexit, said, “This second extension in the space of a fortnight represents not only a diplomatic failure, but is another milestone in the Government’s mishandling of the entire Brexit process.”

“A measure of this could be seen on Monday when one third of her [May’s] party voted against her own policy to request a short delay, and four of her Cabinet abstained.”

He added, “Although this view may not be universally shared by many on the Conservative backbenches, I also welcome the indications from the Government that they may be willing to move in the key areas that have prevented the Prime Minister’s deal from being supported on our side.”

“If these talks are to be a success resulting in an agreement that can bring our country back together, the Government will have to compromise.”

“Crucially, we cannot allow the next Commission to be paralysed by Brexit and distract it from meeting its environmental, social and democratic challenges, which must come first” Bas Eickhout MEP

PES President Sergei Stanishev, a former Bulgarian MEP, said, “Rushing into a no-deal Brexit would be bad news for the UK and the EU.”

“The UK needs time to find a solution on how to move forward, through negotiations between the Government and the official opposition, so a workable solution to the current impasse in the UK can be found.”

He added, “A cliff edge exit would be very damaging.”

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at The Parliament Magazine

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