Pittella warns against two speed EU

Written by Martin Banks on 14 March 2017 in News

Parliament’s S&D group leader Gianni Pittella has warned about the dangers of an “à la carte Europe” emerging in the coming years.

Gianni Pittella

Gianni Pittella Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual

Speaking in Strasbourg on Tuesday, he was referring to calls for a two speed EU in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Such a move could take a step forward at a summit later this month, which will mark the 60th anniversary of the Rome treaty, which paved the way for the modern day EU.

Pittella said, “We don’t want an à la carte Europe developing. That would divide Europe into first and second class players with some moving ahead quickly and others lagging behind.

“A two speed Europe should not be the choice. We have to move forward together on shared policies.”

The Italian MEP also addressed concerns, post-Brexit, about the future of EU citizens living in the UK.

On this, he commented, “One of the fundamental rights of the EU is for EU citizens who live and work in the UK and British citizens.”

The deputy told reporters, “There will be a strong and well fought battle for this. The disaster is starting to unfold with Scotland planning another independence referendum. Our entire sympathy goes to the Scots who voted to remain in the EU but this is out of our hands.

“If, in the future, an independent Scotland wants to rejoin the EU then we would have to start negotiations.”

He said, “There are a series of negative consequences flowing from a hard Brexit and we will try to make Theresa May see sense.

“If I leave a house I cannot do so without paying for the gas and electricity I have used. The same will apply to May.”

He also addressed the current crisis between the Netherlands, Germany and Turkey.

This was sparked when the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan likened the Netherlands to "a banana republic", demanded international organisations impose sanctions on the country and accused countries in the west of "Islamophobia".

The row escalated when two Turkish ministers were barred from addressing crowds in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, with one of them escorted to the German border after entering the Netherlands by land.

"I have said that I had thought that Nazism was over, but I was wrong," said Erdoğan.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had also rallied to the Netherlands, condemning the Nazi analogies made by Erdoğan as “completely misguided.”

Pittella said a “totalitarian drift” was taking over in Turkey.

He said, “We don’t want to fan the flames but Erdoğan’s comments are unacceptable and frankly ridiculous.

“Erdoğan should apologise to the Netherlands and Germany and their citizens.”

Pittella said, “We in our resolutions have said it will be necessary to freeze accession negotiations with Turkey. This leadership is driving Turkey towards a totalitarian regime.”


About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter for the Parliament Magazine

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