Speaking during this morning's debate in the European Parliament on the European Council meeting later this month, which will examine a proposal by Council President Donald Tusk on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union, GUE/NGL President, Gabi Zimmer, stated:

“The upcoming summit has two tasks: first, the negotiated package looking ahead to the referendum in the UK and, second, the refugee question. For both, the key issue is the future of the EU and our ideas about that: will we see a one-sided approach by the Council which decides the future of the EU? And to what extent will citizens be able to identify with this project?

“One of the basic criticisms I would formulate about the proposal put on the table yesterday is that if we want more democracy we cannot have a situation where decisions are taken only between the Governments of the EU without participation of the European Parliament.”

Addressing Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker on this issue, she said: “Although you said that the European Parliament is involved, there is no mention of it in Tusk's proposal. There is no role for the EP and we are supposed to be involved in the follow-up. The representation of citizens is involved after decisions are taken by the Governments. Yet if this door is opened in the future on how decisions are to be made on the future of Europe, we will increasingly lose credibility. We are supposed to represent the citizens of Europe here.”

On the issue of the social union, MEP Zimmer said: “It is also clear that the social union is being buried here. Tusk´s proposal is not a compromise; it is simply bending our knees to the City of London. What would it mean if one of the four basic freedoms is cut in half? What does it mean for mobility and the idea of equal pay for equal work at the same place? This would be bad for the future of social development and employment protection in the UK, and in other member states too.

“What we are doing is producing another opt-out, laying a path where everybody can choose what they want in future. We are deciding here and now that this is supposed to be democratic and is going to be included in the next treaty revision.”

Ms Zimmer concluded: “If we want to convince UK citizens of the added value of the European Union, we are making a huge mistake if we dismantle everything in the social field, because citizens in need of social protection and safe employment will be looking closely at what we do in that field.”


GUE/NGL Press Contact:

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20

Nikki Sullings + 32 483 03 55 75

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