Brexit: EU Parliament resolution
Yesterday the European Parliament held a plenary debate and vote on a Brexit resolution. Unsurprisingly the motion from PPE, S&D, ALDE, and the Greens was adopted almost unchanged:
- Takes note of the wish of the citizens of the United Kingdom to leave the EU; points out that the will expressed by the people must be entirely and fully respected, starting with the activation of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) as soon as possible;
- Stresses that this is a critical moment for the EU: the interests and expectations of the Union’s citizens must be brought back to the centre of the debate; the European project must be relaunched now;
This is basically the result as telegraphed by Juncker, Schulz and Steinmeier: get the UK out of the EU as soon as possible and crank up the European project. No surprises, if you accept the bizarre EU doctrine that crisis and failure propel the thing forward.
Other views were presented as well. The ENF (Europe of Nations and Freedom), chaired by FN's Marine Le Pen and PVV's Marcel de Graaff, took the vote as an opportunity to troll Parliament:
- Congratulates the British people on their decisive exercise of direct democracy, and furthermore celebrates this momentous restoration of the peoples’ inviolable sovereignty;
And the GUE/NGL (European United Left/Nordic Green Left) improvised a little ditty with a familiar motif and a steady beat of ‘crisis', ‘neo-liberal' and ‘austerity':
- Stresses that the outcome of the referendum and the decision of the British people clearly demonstrate that the EU is undergoing a deep crisis, which is the result of neo-liberal and austerity policies and the erosion of democracy; considers, therefore, that it is time for the EU to tackle and face people’s real problems through a profound policy change which should meet people’s expectations;
The ECR (European Conservatives and Reformists) released the following statement:
- Notes that the negotiations on the withdrawal agreement should begin shortly and should take place in accordance with Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union; calls for these negotiations to be undertaken in a considered and measured manner in order to ensure that the withdrawal agreement provides for the establishment of a positive and constructive partnership between the members of the European Union and the United Kingdom in the future;
- Urges the leaders of the EU institutions and of the Member States to regard the results of the referendum in the United Kingdom as an important signal of wider discontent; calls on them to reflect on the way the Union should be reformed in order to bring it closer to citizens and guarantee better compliance with the principle of subsidiarity;
Frankly it seems difficult to argue the substance. Who in their right mind would object to the exit negotiations taking place in a "considered and measured manner"? Who can deny the reality of "wider discontent"?
But European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is not feeling it. Refusing to acknowledge the least bit of responsibility for the EU's eroding public support, he has decided that the best course of action is to just stop thinking about it altogether:
"No notification. No negotiation," Juncker said to resounding applause.
Later, the great democrat Juncker was seen chasing an elected MEP out of Parliament:
"You were fighting for the exit, the British people voted in favor of the exit. Why are you here?"
You could forgive Europeans from thinking, why are we here indeed.