On the future of the UK after the Brexit referendum

Resolution submitted by: JEF Political Commission 1 – Institutions and Governance

Adopted by the Federal Committee, London, March 23rd, 2019

JEF Europe,

  • Recalling the Brexit referendum of 23 June 2016 and how the “Leave” campaign was built upon disinformation and fed on the discontent of the British citizens, that eventually turned the referendum into something that had little to do with the European Union.
  • Considering the results of the vote, their distribution and how they revealed deep fractures in the British population that should have been addressed by the previous British government;
  • Convinced that a referendum on European Union membership was a detrimental approach from the start, given that referenda require an appropriate level of information that is often not obtained, while also being at risk of disinformation campaigns, and that a binary vote, especially with an unclear non-membership option, cannot reflect the importance of a matter as complex as the European Union;
  • Recalling how the negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union have shown all the limits and faults of the Brexit project, and how during this period demonstrations and protests in the UK have increased substantially and from both sides of the campaign, creating a tense environment;
  • Emphasising how, in this state, both British and European citizens are suffering deep uncertainty over the future of their personal and professional lives and their businesses as well.
  • Taking note of the negative outcome of the Brexit deal votes in the House of Commons of January 2019 and March 2019 that rejected the withdrawal agreement as negotiated by the British Government and the European Union;
  • Believing that the decision of the British Parliament did not put the interest of the British citizens first but was led by ideology and party dynamics, and how it contributed to put British citizens and business in deep uncertainty over their future by making the possibility of a no-deal Brexit more concrete;
  • Emphasising how the internal fractures in the two major political parties of the United Kingdom are causing further political turmoil;
  • Viewing positively the ruling of the European Court of Justice of 10 December 2018 on the unanimous revocability of Art. 50 by the British Government and the European Union’s announcement that it will not back attempts at renegotiating the Withdrawal Agreement;
  • Convinced that the only way to minimise the social and economic costs of Brexit and to face the global challenges of the near future will be to have close cooperation between the European Union and the United Kingdom;
  • Confident that peace and the absence of a hard border in Northern Ireland is a priority for both the United Kingdom and the European Union;
  • Recalling that a majority of voters in Scotland and Northern Ireland voted in favour of staying in the European Union;
  • Deeply convinced that full membership of the European Union continues to be the best option available for the United Kingdom in order to prosper and bring benefit to its citizens and the European citizens alike;
  • Recognising the tireless work of the thousands of pro-European activists in the UK, manifested both on a daily basis and in landmark events such as the October 2018 and March 2019 marches for a People’s Vote, gathering hundreds of thousands of people in London;

JEF EUROPE therefore,

  1. Calls on the British Government to put citizens’ interests first and to avoid a no-deal outcome under any circumstance. As, at the current state, British and European citizens are suffering deep uncertainty over their personal lives and businesses;
  2. Supports the idea of a second referendum on the final Brexit deal agreed by the British government and would support the “Remain” campaign in any such referendum;
  3. Urges, in the name of ensuring a free and fair vote, the UK government to take the necessary measures to counter the potential effects of breaches of campaign law, spread of disinformation, and covert foreign interference on any referendum campaign;
  4. Reaffirms, believing that differentiated integration should be the future institutional architecture of the EU, that in the event that the United Kingdom decides not to leave the European Union, it should commit to supporting differentiated integration, especially in the case in which a core of member states decides to integrate further;
  5. Stresses that, if the United Kingdom decides to revoke Art. 50 and remain in the European Union, it must be ready to commit fully to the European project by respecting all treaty provisions applying to the country, refraining from restraining willing Member States’ pursuit of further integration, and respecting the principle of sincere cooperation;
  6. Urges the UK to respect the Good Friday Agreement and therefore demands both parties to commit to maintaining an open border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. If no deal is reached the backstop must apply so to leave Northern Ireland in the Customs Union and the single market in order to prevent friction at the border with Ireland and to safeguard peace in the region;
  7. Stresses the urgency of finding a way of providing unilateral guarantees for UK citizens living in the EU and that for EU citizens living in the UK full citizens’ rights are granted;
  8. Encourages a deep, constructive national debate in the UK on various visions for reforming the European Union, potentially in the form of public citizens’ dialogues.

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