Irish MEP, Martina Anderson, told the plenary: “Brexit was a wake-up call. The EU must reform to survive. We need a social EU based on democracy, human rights and progressive national sovereignty.”

“Instead we hear much talk of a multi-speed Europe, deeper integration, austerity and an EU army. I believe that is a mistake; more integration is the last thing we need.

“With EU funds skewed towards military research, people want more participation, more solidarity and more democracy, not guns and corporate bail-outs.     

“The north of Ireland voted against Brexit, but our democratic vote has been ignored despite an international agreement – the Good Friday Agreement – which is lodged with the United Nations, and must be protected in all of its parts. Ireland – north and south – belongs in Europe. But we want a Europe of equals in which no one will be ignored.”

Greek MEP, Kostas Chrysogonos, also contrasted the values of the EU with the reality: “The treaties of the European Union are based on the European values of freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights. And the stated objective is to promote peace and prosperity of the people.” 

“In reality, what happens is the EU tolerates the violation of the rule of law in Hungary and Poland. At the same time, the policy of austerity imposed by the dominant powers in the eurozone leads to a contraction of fundamental social rights such as the right to health, social insurance, collective bargaining and working conditions, especially in the countries of the south such as Greece.”

Spanish MEP, Marina Albiol, added: “The European Union is based on neoliberal principles such as controlling the deficit, liberalising services, a perverse European Central Bank, anti-democratic institutions and, above all, one clear objective – a common market.”

“We have had a few reforms, added a bit of make-up and a White Paper, but that doesn't change anything. We are in the same situation that led us to Brexit, the rise of the far-right and policies that increase inequality.

“Instead we want to build a Europe for the people, for the popular classes, with workers, with people from Greece, France, Germany, Portugal and all over Europe, all working together.”

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