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PES Leaders stand together for inclusive Europe

Family_photo.jpgProtecting the European project in context of the rise of the far right and eurosceptism was the principle topic of discussion between social democratic Prime Ministers and leaders at a meeting in Brussels ahead of the EU Council today. At a far ranging meeting they discussed:

-       The current EU context and the threat of populism and the far right

-       The refugee crisis

-       How to tackle terrorism in the EU

-       The upcoming UK EU referendum

Sergei Stanishev , PES President, said after the meeting: “Our leaders were in consensus today - populists and the far right are trying to exploit the refugee crisis, high unemployment, and the fear of terrorist attacks, to sing their xenophobic, scaremongering song, endangering cohesion and the European project. The results of the French election show the danger they pose, but there are increasingly far right parties across the continent: in Austria, Finland, Greece, Germany, and more. Against this, we will continue to promote our positive alternatives of jobs, inclusion and unity. Social democrats will defend our democracy and stand against the rise of nationalism.”

Corbyn_Stanishev.jpgLabour leader Jeremy Corbyn was welcomed to the meeting by Sergei Stanishev. “We were pleased Jeremy Corbyn joined us today to discuss the upcoming EU referendum. We are united in our stance that the UK must stay in the EU. The other PES leaders offered Mr Corbyn their assistance in his campaign for Britain to remain part of the EU.”

Jeremy Corbyn said: “Today’s meeting of progressive European Leaders was positive and forward looking. While David Cameron postures to appease his own party, Europe’s socialist and social democrats building alliances for genuine reform in the EU: for democratisation, workers’ rights, sustainable growth and jobs for all in a real social Europe.”

On the refugee issue, Sergei Stanishev said “The numbers of refugees and migrants arriving in Europe this year has been unprecedented. We welcome the European Commission proposal for an EU Border and Coast guard which would manage the EU's external borders, protect the Schengen area and secure our citizens.”

“We must implement the European Commission’s policy for a permanent relocation scheme– and countries must show solidarity by equally sharing refugees among member states. All must do their bit to provide safe and secure reception to refugees who need it so badly. We must go beyond Dublin, which is not adequate in the new context”.

“The EU Action Plan with Turkey must be implemented, without forgetting that there are other neighbouring countries (Lebanon and Jordan) who need our support.”

He concluded “However, we still need a holistic approach to migration, which should include integration policies, essential to integrate refugees and to our fight against populism.”

Photos from PES Pre-Council 17 December

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