GUE/NGL MEPs call for restored social rights to ensure the future of the EU
GUE/NGL MEPs have demanded urgent action in light of Brexit and the erosion of rights across the EU during this morning’s debate in the European Parliament.
The MEPs debated the various outcomes of last week’s European Council meeting, also including the European Defence Fund.
Irish MEP Martina Anderson - who also serves as GUE/NGL group’s Brexit coordinator - urged the EU to guarantee the rights of Irish citizens in the north of the island and highlighted that the peace process is at stake:
“Whether hard or soft border – the people living in border communities in Ireland will not stand for it. Frictionless or electronic borders don't reassure anybody.”
“The damage that would be done to the peace process in Ireland is immeasurable,” she warned.
“The EU has a political, legal and moral duty to help us ensure that the next generation is not faced with hard borders and hardship.”
“The Council and the Commission in its negotiations must protect Ireland’s north, south, east and west from England's Brexit madness,” she concluded.
Italian MEP Barbara Spinelli - Vice-Chair of the Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) - believes there is a future for the EU - as long as it prioritises social justice:
“I wish the Union would recognise all the mistakes it has made since the crisis began in 2007-2008, and would give absolute priority to social justice and to a large-scale European New Deal. Only through this will it be able to bring together again the citizens who are increasingly disgusted by our institutions.”
“I wish the Union would cease to call populists all those who feel repelled by it because they do not see any sweeping changes.
“I wish the Union would begin to see itself as a land of immigration and would stop dumping on Africa the issues that we are not able to solve, except through walls and prisons for refugees.”
“This may sound like a utopia but we must not forget that even the idea of Union was, during the war, a utopia of the few,” she concluded.
Italian MEP Eleonora Forenza also called into question the Commission’s vision of a Social Europe:
“President Juncker talked about strengthening the Union's Social Pillar - but what does that mean?”
“I hope that does not mean what the socialist governments of the EU - like France and Italy - have done with their labour reforms.”
“I also want to know what human rights stands for in Europe when you enter into agreements with the likes of Turkey or with Libya?” she queried.
Finally, Spanish MEP Miguel Urbán expressed concern over the militarisation of the Union:
"The European Council is committed to continuity - riding out this current crisis with more militarisation and an increase in the European Defence Fund. This only benefits the arms industry and their lobbyists in Brussels."
"If we want to rescue the European project, we must change our policies. We can do as Perry Anderson suggested and burn the Treaty of Maastricht," he concluded.