Pittella: Despite positive tone, we expect UK to turn nice words into actions

brexit chess pawns Eu and UK

Following the speech by the UK Premier Theresa May in Florence on the future of UK-EU relations, S&D Group President Gianni Pittella said:

“We are pleased that Theresa May struck a more positive tone than her foreign secretary last week. We appreciate that there has been an opening up on some of the most sensitive issues of the negotiations. Nevertheless, more clarity and detail is needed to evaluate whether May's proposals can actually be turned into concrete actions.

"On citizen’s rights, our priority remains to protect the full set of rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens abroad. In this regard, we welcome May´s reference to the European Court of Justice and direct effect, but it must be clarified what the role of the ECJ would be as far as the enforcement and the interpretation of the EU law is concerned.

"With regards to the financial settlement, we take note of the May's good will to honour all the financial commitments made during the period of the UK´s membership. We now expect the UK to be finally ready to discuss in details on this point in the next round of negotiations and to be ready to honour the full set of commitments. This is not only a precondition for a fair and orderly Brexit but also for the establishment of a new relationship based on mutual trust.

“On the border with the Republic of Ireland asking to think creatively is not enough. We share the common willingness to find an adequate compromise that preserves the peace process but also doesn’t threaten the integrity of the customs union and single market. However, we again heard no new creative ideas on how this could be achieved in the speech.

"On a transition arrangement for two years, this is a sensible idea but still we need to see the full details of how it would work in practice and guarantees over the role of the ECJ during this period.

"Nice words about shared history and challenges mean little without concrete actions and mutual trust. The next negations will tell if these nice words will finally result in concrete actions."