Debating the future of EU-UK relations after Brexit
EFA MEPs Jill Evans & Alyn Smith in key debate
EFA MEPs Alyn Smith (SNP - Scotland) and Jill Evans (Plaid Cymru - Wales), took part in today's European Parliament debate on the future of EU - UK relations after Brexit, with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.
The European Parliament will have a final say on any deal between the UK and EU following the negotiations, meaning that its support for any deal will be vital.
Alyn Smith said that there was 'still time to change course' now that the negative effects of Brexit are becoming clearer, whilst Jill Evans called for measures to allow UK citizens to retain EU citizenship post-Brexit.
Alyn Smith MEP said:
"Amidst all our talk – quite rightly – about the Single Market and the Customs Union, I think a point worth making is that Scotland voted to remain within our European Union. That is our starting point and that is our domestic issue, but we will be in touch. Don’t forget about Scotland.
"But in this debate I’d address my remarks to people outside of this Chamber. To the people in England, the people in the United Kingdom, I say as a friend of both, who voted leave: I get it, your anger is justified, your anger is real; but I assure you, your fight is not with the European Union.
"You were told, you believed the promises; you were told by serious people like David Davis that there was no downside and a considerable upside to voting leave.
"Well I tell you, dear friends, this is what the future looks like, and it’s pretty bloody bleak: a diminished UK, a diminished Europe, a poorer citizenry, a poorer society, a poorer economy. Nobody voted to make themselves poorer. There are no unicorns; there are no windmills for every voter; there is no GBP 350 million for the NHS. They lied to you.
"You were right, you were genuine, to take those promises at face value. But as we get to the end point of this process, we see what the reality is. There is no shame in changing your mind. There is still time to change course."
Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans said:
“I am European” is the title of a petition my party, Plaid Cymru, launched last week calling for people to have the ability to retain their EU citizenship after the UK leaves the EU.
"It received more than 5000 signatures in just a few days. Last Wednesday, the House of Commons debated and backed a Plaid Cymru motion on this.
"No one has the right to strip people of their citizenship against their will. That is the view of many legal experts. But that is what will happen unless there is action now. And it's a question of political will.
"I welcome the fact that this resolution again proposes that the EU27 examine how to mitigate the loss of rights of UK citizens.
"And I urge the Commission and Council to recognise that for many, their European citizenship is also an essential part of their identity. Diolch."