During Theresa May’s visit to Brussels to meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and other EU leaders, S&D Group leader Udo Bullmann and S&D Group spokesperson on Brexit Roberto Gualtieri said:
“Instead of considering options that she knows will not work, like the renegotiation of the backstop or a hard Brexit, Theresa May should look at the proposals outlined by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn last night. These sensible solutions could offer a way out of the current mess and pave the way for a strong and positive future EU-UK relationship.
“However, if May continues to promise things to the Brexiters in her party back home that she knows are unworkable in practice then we will get nowhere. The withdrawal agreement will not be reopened and the backstop will not be changed. This is not a partisan position from the EU, both the UK and EU have made preventing a hard border in Ireland a pillar of the Brexit negotiations. The backstop is the guarantee of that, ensuring that in no circumstances will there be either a hardening of the border or a situation where products that do not meet EU standards could enter the single market undetected.
“We have always viewed Brexit as a historic mistake and of course would welcome it if the UK was to change its mind. However, we are working in a constructive way to mitigate the most damaging consequences. We urge the Prime Minister to do the same, work to find a majority for the closer relationship Jeremy Corbyn outlined yesterday or put the question back to the British people.”