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Brexit discussed at EU Labour leaders' meeting in Brussels- Howlin

17 October 2019

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Speaking after the meeting of Party of European Socialists (PES) Prime Ministers and party leaders in Brussels, the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin TD, spoke about the strong messages coming from that meeting.

Deputy Howlin said: “The meeting of PES leaders discussed a wide range of issues of concern to European citizens. Most Labour Prime Ministers from across Europe were in attendance as was the new President of the European Parliament. Jeremy Corbyn reaffirmed UK Labour’s commitment to remain part of the European socialist family.

“Labour Prime Ministers from Albania and North Macedonia were in attendance, as an important topic of the meeting was their push to start the long process of becoming members of the EU one day.

“But Brexit naturally also was a major focus. The chair of the PES reaffirmed solidarity with Ireland’s concerns for which I thanked all my colleagues. Prime Minister Costa of Portugal affirmed that Ireland will never be left behind.

“I explained to European colleagues that any Brexit is a bad Brexit, but our objective is to maintain the basic issues for Ireland that we set out from the start of discussions, namely the preservation of the Good Friday Agreement and no border on the island of Ireland. The deal arrived at today achieves those objectives.

“The next phase will be the view taken by the British House of Commons on Saturday. Jeremy Corbyn explained to colleagues why they will vote against the deal, on the basis of Johnson’s determination to move away from alignment with Europe on labour standards and environmental protections. So the final outcome is still unclear.

“Colleagues recognised that a ‘no deal’ Brexit would be catastrophic and that we need to move beyond endless negotiation, and to focus on other challenges facing Europe.”