The Brexit deal is definitely not the best agreement both sides could have on the table. From an EU perspective, it reflects the failure of the EU establishment to deal with the growing concerns of British citizens over the weaknesses of the European institutions, the positioning and role of UK inside the EU as a reformative power, and the policies UK governments have implemented during the last couple of decades. From a British perspective, it is a crystal clear that Brexit demonstrates the failure of the previous governments to cope with strong euroscepticism in a constructive way, away from the nationalistic rhetoric that has finally prevailed over dialogue and compromise.
PM May is in difficult position as she is facing pressure from both inside its party, but also from the opposition. Hard Brexiteers in the government would like another deal that could give Britain the carte blanche to exit EU with almost no cost, whereas the Labourers call for an enhanced deal, and definitely pushing for a final ratification of the deal by the British people via another referendum.
People realise that they have been lied and betrayed by the populists and the nationalists. Populist forces have invested in the Brexit campaign, and now the realization of the loss of rights after more than 40 years is cruel and shocking. It seems that it is all about the market and the financial aspect of the Brexit deal, with people being treated as a collateral damage.
In this context, the left and progressive forces in both Britain and EU have to stand up and reclaim all those values that EU and UK have been cherishing for decades before the crisis has sparked and fatal austerity has been implemented across EU and Eurozone. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn can pave the way and revoke Article 50 of the TEU, in light of the recent opinion from the advocate general in the European Court of Justice. This is also the call we have addressed to Corbyn along with 68 other progressive politicians and policy-makers via The Guardian, considering that such an initiative could bolster progressive alliances across the EU.
People’s voice should be heard before Brexit becomes irreversible, and definitely before nationalists start pushing PM May toward a hard deal.
There is a window of opportunity that should not be missed. The problem is not the people vying for change, but rather the short-sighted approach from both the UK and EU leadership regarding the need for social transformation. In that front, we all should stand firm, pull our forces together and embark on a EU-wide social agenda that could specific results before March 2019, and the deadline for Brexit.
*Dimitris Papadimoulis is Vice-President of the European Parliament, head of SYRIZA party delegation.
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