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Por desgracia, esta vez va a ser el Reino Unido el que camine por el lado equivocado de la historia. Se lo digo con amistad, se lo digo con lealtad.
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We regret the decision to leave the EU, but we respect it. We also know, and will not forget, that a large number of UK citizens voted to remain because they understand that the European project is the only way to protect and to recover our sovereignty in a globalised world. Our guiding principle in the whole process will be to protect the rights and interests of the citizens we directly represent. We want to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU, avoiding a no—deal scenario, which would have negative consequences for all, but in particular for the United Kingdom.
For this reason, we call on the UK Government to agree as soon as possible on the principles of the withdrawal provisions in order to allow us to begin talks on the main features of the future relationships and on the necessary transitional arrangements. We fully support the sequencing set out by Michel Barnier. In this context, Parliament will pay particular attention to the need to protect the rights of the EU 27 citizens living or having lived in the UK and vice versa, because people — as President Juncker said — are not negotiating chips.
We will also ensure that the financial settlement will cover all the commitments and liabilities, and we will insist on the absolute need to safeguard the Northern Ireland peace process and to avoid a hardening of the border in Ireland.
The future relationship between the EU and the UK should be a close partnership, based on balanced and comprehensive agreement, but it cannot provide similar benefits to those enjoyed by the Union Member States. The European Parliament will not accept any trade—off between security and economy, nor any cherry—picking. We will want an agreement which is fully in line with our standards on the environment, the fight against tax evasion and the protection of social rights.
I am confident that the vote will show that this Parliament is united in line with this principle, that we back the EU negotiator and that we will honour our constitutional obligations, contributing to that unity of the EU, to a successful negotiation and to the defence of our common values and projects. Ashley Fox ECR. In doing so she gave effect to the democratic decision of the British people to leave the European Union.
I want Members to see today as a beginning and not an end. It is the start of a new relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
Although we will be leaving the EU, we want to forge a deep and special partnership with our friends and allies in Europe. The negotiations that follow will be difficult at times, and you will sometimes hear an angry voice. I hope that colleagues here will focus on the outcome we seek and not the process we undertake, because we all need a good agreement, rather than a good fight. This Parliament has a role to play in ensuring we protect our citizens. I want us to respect the right of self-determination.
The sovereignty of Gibraltar is not part of these negotiations.
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My group was disappointed that Mr Verhofstadt felt he could only consult on the draft text with a few close political friends. Perhaps it was inconvenient. We hope in future we can work with you in the same good faith and full transparency that you request in your motion. As we look to the future, it is in the interests of all our citizens that we reach a comprehensive agreement between Britain and the EU. We see no reason to delay any aspect of any of these talks.
So let us go forward together and reach that deep and special partnership that will benefit all our nations. They told us food prices would not rise. They have. They told us businesses would not move abroad. They are. They told us we were scaremongering. We were not. Sixteen million Brits did not say they wanted to leave the European family.
Those who did will not be fooled again by false promises from nationalists. That message reads loud and clear: you lied to us. We are angry, and we want our country back.
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It belongs inside the European Union. As a Liberal Democrat, I will continue to fight against Brexit, and to give the people a final say on the deal. I am proud of this House, uniting with a positive but firm resolution. It is fair, it is just, and it is very European. And if the deal goes badly, the British people will welcome the chance to revoke Brexit and Article 50, and vote to remain. He met with virtually every signatory of the joint resolution, and he asked three things from this House: one, that you preserve the Good Friday Agreement in all its part; two, that there would be no hardening of the Irish border; and three, that the unique circumstances and special status of Ireland would be supported.
In his memory, we thank you for this. This is why we associate ourselves with this resolution.
We feel that the European Parliament is a partner to the people of the North of Ireland and particularly those living across the partitioned border areas, north and south. Despite the fact that we support the joint resolution, we all have to recognise that this is not the Europe we want, or that the people need. We need an open and critical debate on the future of Europe, something that the resolution also calls for.
We need to engage the public in this debate. Together we can shape a better Europe, a more social Europe, a democratic Europe, a Europe of equals. We have done our part, now it is the turn of the European Council meeting on 29 April. To the European Council I say: it is over to you. Enda Kenny, Taoiseach, your day has come.
Now it is your time to stand up for the Good Friday Agreement in all of its parts. Irish citizens are depending on you. You must be the voice of the people, north and south. It is clear from this resolution that Ireland has friends in Europe. And I want to end with a quote from Manfred Weber, somebody I do not usually quote. Neither will we, and neither should the Taoiseach. So harness that support, Enda, and stand up for Ireland. I will just underline four ideas that seem to me of the utmost importance on the subject.
Firstly, the resolution on which this Parliament voted today sets the framework for any future negotiation. Five parliamentary groups have, happily, presented it. Secondly, both sides have to concentrate on fair and discreet negotiations, conducted in a spirit of good faith and political rigour. Thirdly, we will have to learn to divorce, since we have not been able to learn to live better together. That means we have to prepare a future that can make it possible to combine distance with collaboration.
Fourthly, and finally, as Chair of the EFA Group, I wish to express my conviction that both parts will be able to give fair treatment not just to the territories that have expressed their will to remain: Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar, but also to Wales. We have a long way in front of us. This, I guarantee, would cause immense damage to the economies of the European Union and would result in putting many of your citizens out of work. It is what we call, in the UK, cutting off your nose to spite your face.
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However, the most offensive position that you have taken is the proposal that Spain will have the right to veto any Brexit deal over the issue of Gibraltar. I want to make it clear in this Chamber today that the people of Gibraltar are proudly British. I do, however, have a solution to prevent Gibraltar being used as a pawn in Brexit negotiations and, indeed, end Spanish claims once and for all.
Make Gibraltar a fully integrated part of the UK; give her and our other overseas territories their own Member of Parliament. Give Gibraltar real influence and a voice in Westminster and send a clear message that Gibraltar is not for sale. In this area, we, the UK, can learn from our continental cousins, because the French give representation to their overseas territories, and I propose that we should too. I have been calling for this for many, many years, and with the unique opportunities that Brexit has given us, I believe it is an idea whose time has come.