A statement by GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer on the two-day EU summit in Brussels. Concerning Brexit, the German MEP said:

“We're concerned that the European Council considers the issue of citizens' rights closed. The British government is yet to convince us that they will live up to their commitments to genuinely protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK. Likewise, the failure to ensure free movement for British citizens in the EU remains a major problem.”

“The British government must provide assurances that there will be no hard border in Ireland and that The Good Friday Agreement will be upheld in all of its parts. The Council must make it absolutely clear that progress in future relations will depend on compliance with the commitments outlined in December’s Joint Report, which protect the rights of citizens in the North of Ireland.”

“Brexit cannot be used as an excuse by the British government or the EU to diminish or weaken existing citizens’ rights. The same applies to established labour, social and environmental standards which are essential to the quality of life of our citizens. Therefore, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights should remain the basis for the rights of UK citizens.”

On trade, Zimmer said:

“Trump wants a trade war to distract from his domestic shortcomings. We should not let ourselves be provoked so easily and for the EU to be pushed into a trade war. Even if the EU is provisionally excluded from punitive tariffs, the threat remains. Regardless, the EU should not react with immediate, retaliatory measures. Poverty, social decline and environmental degradation exist on all continents. These are global problems that also arise from the current trade relations and they require multilateral solutions. Worldwide production and value chains need fair trade relations and joint solutions.”

Finally, on the Salisbury attack, she said:

“I am shocked by the attack against Mr. Skripal and his daughter. Our thoughts and solidarity go to those who have been affected in Salisbury. The use of nerve gas in Europe and around the world must be banned and dealt with through the rule of law. It is extremely disturbing that more than 25 years since the signing of the Chemical Weapons Convention, nerve gas is being used again and again. That shows that the current system of disarmament is being continuously eroded and undermined. That has to be stopped.”

“The conflict between the UK and Russia over the attack should not be allowed to drag the EU into an escalation. To remove the EU ambassador is such a step. The Chemical Weapons Convention provides an appropriate framework to conduct the necessary investigations and penalties. At the end of such a procedure, a conference of the Treaty states should discuss the results and draw it owns conclusions. Rather than rashly finger-pointing at Moscow, members of the Chemical Weapons Convention should work together in order to solve the case.”

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