Gianni Pittella: Before we discuss the customs union, the UK needs to address citizens' rights, the financial settlement and Ireland

brexit chess pawns Eu and UK

Today the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament commented on the British government’s proposals to leave the customs union while ensuring fluid trade with EU member states. 

S&D president Gianni Pittella said: 

"While it is always useful to have an idea about the British government's aspirations, we hope Theresa May and David Davis are aware that in order to start discussions on customs and transitional arrangements, we need to make substantial and sufficient progress on citizens' rights, the financial settlement and Ireland. 

"The documents highlight the government's aspirations, but to avoid illusions it is worth remembering that only the customs union and the single market can allow a frictionless trade and a free movement of goods." 

MEP Roberto Gualtieri, S&D member of the EP’s Brexit steering group, said: 

"We are glad that the British government recognises the need to allow a smooth and orderly transition. 

"However we urge the UK government to keep the focus on the main elements of the current negotiations on the withdrawal agreement, whose successful outcome is the basic precondition for managing Brexit and minimising the disruption for businesses and individuals."