Hundreds of MEPS vote to continue to support Peace Process

The European Union flag and national flags in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. (AFP PHOTO / FREDERICK FLORIN.)
The European Union flag and national flags in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. (AFP PHOTO / FREDERICK FLORIN.)

Hundreds of Members of the European Parliament have voted to in favour of the European Union continuing its support for the Peace Process here.

The move came during an extraordinary sitting of the European Parliament following the decision by the majority of voters in the UK to exit the EU.

Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson was among those who called for the vote in the North of Ireland and Scotland to remain within the EU to be respected and validated.

Sinn Féin MEPs, with the backing of Confederal Group of the European United Left/ Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL), submitted amendments during the debate in an attempt to raise the case of Ireland after the fallout from the Brexit vote.

Speaking after the vote, Martina Anderson MEP, said: “Along with our parliamentary grouping GUE/NGL, we submitted motions, with several references to Ireland, to ensure the official position of the European Parliament recognised the nuance position our country is in now.

“Our amendments urged that the Parliament take note of, and respect, the result of the referendum and respects the fact that the north of Ireland and Scotland voted to remain in the EU.

“In saying this, we also emphasised how the British government have forfeited any mandate to represent the interests of people in the north of Ireland and in Scotland with regard to the EU.”

Ms Anderson added: “The Brexit result threatens to jeopardise the Peace Process and therefore our motions called on the EU to continue to proactively support the Peace Process and to provide for its continuation in any negotiations on British withdrawal.

“Over 200 MEPs also voted in favour of this amendment, highlighting the regard at which the Peace Process is held, right across Europe.”

Ms Anderson said that the result of the referendum “dislocates” Ireland’s northern and southern economies, which currently have 200,000 jobs depending on €1.2 billion of trade between them each week. “This proves that Irish unity is not only practically viable, it is also economically viable and there is a democratic imperative for a referendum on Irish unity as provided for in the Good Friday Agreement, which we also highlighted today,” she said.

The European Parliament today backed a motion urging the UK to immediately put in motion its exit from the EU, by invoking Article 50.