The European Parliament’s historic vote of consent on Brexit means that Britain crashing out of the EU has been prevented – for now, suggests in a press-release the Left GUE/NGL Group.

Crucially, it means that a hard border will not be erected in Ireland overnight, allowing the free movement of people and goods on the island of Ireland to continue until at least the end of the transition period.

“In order to prevent a hard Brexit, in the interest of EU and British citizens, and to preserve peace in the north of Ireland, we voted in favour of the Withdrawal Agreement today,” commented Martin Schirdewan (DIE LINKE, Germany), GUE/NGL co-president and a member of the Brexit Steering Group.

“But to avoid a hard Brexit at the end of this year, Boris Johnson should agree on extending the transition period. It is impossible to conclude the future negotiations covering every policy area in just 11 months. GUE/NGL will work hard in the coming months to prevent Britain and the EU from lowering social standards and tax competition,” he added.

“Tonight I voted in favour of the Irish protocol because we will not consent to any hardening of the British border partitioning Ireland. We will not consent to customs posts, checks or barbed wire on the border,” said outgoing Irish MEP Martina Anderson (Sinn Féin, Ireland).

“Partition and Brexit are ugly impositions which have burdened Ireland for years. But Brexit has started a dynamic conversation on Irish unity. I believe that one day, MEPs from the north of Ireland will be elected to the European Parliament again. Tiocfaidh an lá sin – that day will come. Until then, the EU and member states need to plan and help to facilitate preparations for Irish Unity,” she concluded.