Pittella and Willmott: Now the real challenge begins - to keep the UK in the EU
Speaking after the release of the draft agreement on the UK renegotiation pack, S&D Group president Gianni Pittella and Glenis Willmott, leader of the UK Labour delegation to the S&D Group, reiterated their call for the UK to remain in the EU and the need to make a strong progressive case for Europe.
S&D Group president Gianni Pittella said:
"The overwhelming objective for our group is to ensure that the UK remains in the EU. It is clear that the UK and the EU are both politically and economically stronger with Britain in the Union. We are planning to meet as a Group and discuss the full details of the draft text before the European Council. We will look at the effects of the changes regarding the export of child benefits and the safeguard mechanism regarding the inflow of workers in exceptional circumstances."
"We are pleased to see that there is no mention of watering down worker's rights, which could have started a destabilising race to the bottom. We must now make the case to the UK public and ensure that Britain remains at the heart of a progressive EU."
Glenis Willmott MEP, leader of UK S&D delegation, added:
"Remaining in the European Union is vital for Britain's economy, our rights, and our security - there are no circumstances under which we would be better off outside the EU, so we must not allow talk of this deal to eclipse the bigger picture.
"This referendum is going to be about working people, the rights they enjoy and the jobs that we have as a result of being in the EU - you only need look at the reaction of Eurosceptics to see that EU membership is worth fighting for.
"They wanted workers' rights slashed - rights like a minimum four weeks' paid holiday; parental leave; flexible working; equal protection for part-time workers. It is a victory for Labour and our sister parties across Europe that the undermining of these rights is no longer under discussion. We must now ensure that British people keep these rights by keeping Britain in the EU. We cannot wait for summits and talks.
"The battle must begin now, it is one we must win, we can win and we will win, and only then can we put an end to the uncertainty that is bad for Britain, bad for working people, and bad for the whole of Europe."