Another Europe is possible

UK’s delay tactics on Brexit put millions of citizens at risk

18/10/2018

A statement by Gabi Zimmer, GUE/NGL President and member of the Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group, on the Brexit talks at the EU summit

UK’s delay tactics on Brexit put millions of citizens at risk

Image courtesy of Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916 on Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

After another wasted EU summit in which Theresa May yet again failed to lay out the UK’s position on the Irish backstop, the EU negotiators need to wise up to the fact that they may have fallen for the oldest trick in the book. 

With Brexit now just five months away and everybody still in the dark over what the UK intends to do in order to protect The Good Friday Agreement, the UK is clearly stalling for time in the hope of last-minute concessions.

However, this is not a game - this affects the lives of millions across our continent. With no acceptable proposals from the British, GUE/NGL reaffirms its position that there shall be no Withdrawal Agreement without a concrete solution on the border in Ireland which will protect The Good Friday Agreement in all its parts.

What is clear is that the British government is trying to renege on its commitments to the ‘backstop’ agreement from December 2017 and March 2018 – a clear violation of the European Parliament’s red lines.

However, none of us should be surprised given this is how the British government has always negotiated. We know their tactics. We know what they are trying to do and that is to deliberately delay and sabotage any agreement in the hope of the EU backing down at the 11th hour. 

But the EU shouldn’t fall for this - and we refuse to play along with this game. If the UK government fails to demonstrate that they are serious about upholding their commitments, then it may be in everyone’s interest to just move on.

It is beyond unacceptable and deeply troubling that the British government are willing to play games with the lives of millions of EU nationals living in Britain, and British citizens living in the EU27. Whether or not there is a Withdrawal Agreement, we must be ready to take every possible measure to ensure that the lives and the rights of these citizens will be protected. There is precious time left.

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