Leaders of the main pro-European political groups in the European Parliament today confirmed that they would support a Brexit extension as a way to avoid the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal. They reiterated that no-deal is the worst possible outcome and it if it happens it will not be the choice of the EU.
S&D Group President Iratxe García Pérez said:
“A no-deal Brexit would be bad for everyone but a disaster for the UK. That is not just our view, it is clear from the UK government’s own assessment of what happen following a no-deal departure, with severe delays at ports, medical supplies being disrupted, and food prices increasing. It would also lead to even more uncertainty for the millions of EU27 citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in other EU countries. Today all major pro-EU forces in the Parliament have stated that we would support an extension to avoid this outcome. If the UK needs more time to hold a general election or a new referendum then this will be granted. We have always seen Brexit as a historic mistake and would still welcome it if the decision was reversed.
“We urge Boris Johnson and his government to live up to the promises they have made and automatically grant rights to EU nationals living in the UK. People should not pay the price for their politicians’ failings, this is why our Group supports ring-fencing citizens’ rights in all circumstances.
Pedro Silva Pereira, interim member of the European Parliament Brexit Steering Group added:
“Even if we regret Brexit, our Group has worked in a responsible way to mitigate its worst consequences and ensure that the UK leaves the EU in an orderly way. Therefore, we will support an extension of Article 50 if needed to avoid a catastrophic no deal scenario. Our priorities remain to see that the rights of EU citizens are guaranteed in all circumstances and to protect the peace process in Northern Ireland. We are deeply concerned by the difficulty EU citizens, some of whom have lived in the UK for decades, have had in receiving settled status from UK authorities. This combined with confusing and contradictory statements from the UK Home Office on ending freedom of movement after October 31st are causing stress and uncertainty for millions of people who have chosen to build their lives in the UK.
“Our Group is also clear that we will never accept any Brexit deal that could threaten or undermine the EU’s hard won labour rights or environmental standards.”