European Interest

Left MEPs criticise time constraints imposed upon Brexit agreement

Flickr/European Parliament/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
“Having seen the draft agreement, I still have concerns about Brexit’s impact upon the Irish peace process and citizens’ rights," said GUE/NGL co-president Martin Schirdewan.

Lefts MEPs have voiced their concerns and criticisms about the way in which a proposed Brexit deal is being put forward but with strict time constraints for its ratification.

If the agreement is ratified in Westminster on Saturday then it is likely that the European Parliament will be asked to give its consent next week in Strasbourg.

“Having seen the draft agreement, I still have concerns about Brexit’s impact upon the Irish peace process and citizens’ rights. I also have doubts as to whether this will undermine The Good Friday Agreement in the near future, and many of our citizens – both in the EU and in Britain – will continue to worry about their immediate and long term futures,” said GUE/NGL co-president and member of the Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group Martin Schirdewan (DIE LINKE., Germany).

“However, I believe this is the compromise that we can come up with for now. The question remains as to whether this will be acceptable to the British parliament and, personally, I have doubts about that,” Schirdewan concluded.

“The people in the North of Ireland didn’t consent to Brexit. There is no good Brexit for the island of Ireland. The proposal is complex and convoluted, but it is better than crashing out without an agreement. At least it avoids a hardening of the border in Ireland and it removes the Stormont veto proposed by the British government,” added MEP Martina Anderson (Sinn Féin, Ireland).

“It appears to uphold The Good Friday Agreement in a way that wouldn’t have happened without the important role played by GUE/NGL in the process,” she said.

Meanwhile, MEP Helmut Scholz (DIE LINKE., Germany) emphasised the importance of an agreement in safeguarding the rights of EU citizens in Britain and British citizens in the EU, saying:

“We are disappointed that more wasn’t achieved for citizens but some sort of a deal is necessary to maintain the minimum protection in the Withdrawal Agreement. The process of finalising this agreement has excluded citizens and is largely excluding their elected representatives. In order to avoid being presented with a fait accompli, the EU should express its willingness to extend the Article 50 period to ensure that the agreement is genuinely in the interest of citizens in Britain and across the EU.”

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