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Rome declaration and Brexit should serve as wake-up call for Social Europe

15/03/2017

Rome declaration and Brexit should serve as wake-up call for Social Europe

The upcoming 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties is neither the time for EU celebrations nor another excuse for the status quo to remain, says GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer during this morning’s plenary debate on the European Council conclusions.

Zimmer covered a range of issues encompassing Jean-Claude Juncker’s plans for the future of the EU with a Social Pillar, as well as Brexit and a revision on the Dublin regulations covering asylum seekers and immigrants.

But first, in addressing the presidents of the EU institutions, Zimmer remarked:

“The current situation of the EU is also reflected in the fact that there’s not a single woman amongst you! This could be a starting point of how the EU can reinvent itself so that the hopes and wishes of the citizens are taken seriously in order to not take us back to a patchwork of nations!”

Moving onto the Rome anniversary and the future of the EU, the German MEP said:

“I still doubt that the Rome declaration will serve as a wake-up call. I ask the presidents of the EU institutions to declare in Rome that the EU will sign up to the revised European Social charter. That would be a good starting point.”

She warned, “there is no time to lose. If we don’t start asking ourselves the questions and look at the reasons why so many unemployed people, people in precarious jobs, in the UK voted for Brexit, it was largely because they had the feeling that they weren’t getting the answers nor the support from the EU they need.”

“Governments should not celebrate this 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties too much but instead, use it as an opportunity to fight for a European Union in which we feel comfortable and which we want to defend because living conditions for everyone in the EU will improve,” she added. 

Zimmer then dovetailed this issue with the potential conflicts over EU citizens’ rights during the Brexit negotiations:

“Let’s ensure that Brexit discussions don’t lead to the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU are massively undermined.” 

“Let’s ensure that the rights of people in the north of Ireland aren’t also undermined; that they aren’t cut off from the Republic of Ireland and get a new external border.”

“Let’s fight together for that because it’s all about the clear rights for all citizens across the EU.”

Equally important for Zimmer was the discussions over a revision of the Dublin Regulation:

“EU leaders must think about the new Dublin rules that are being planned because - for the EU member states on the external borders in particular - that will be bring a burden to them which are not manageable and one which will make the situation even more serious.”

“Let’s ensure that the EU itself becomes a social, peaceful, democratic union and if you want this, you’ll have us on your side,” she pleaded.

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