About the EU Parliament
In its earliest form the European Union started life as the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) back in 1952. The Coal and Steel Community was founded by six countries – France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Federal Republic of Germany and Italy . It involved cooperation on the coal and steel production of these countries, which was important to the arms industry and was a major commodity in trade between them. The purpose of the cooperation was to pave the way for greater European cohesion and stability by making the countries mutually dependent on each other’s coal and steel production. Given that the atrocities of World War Two were fresh in everyones’ minds the idea was that by making these countries dependent on each other, future hostilities between European countries could not happen again and thus a durable peace in Europe would be ensured.
Over the years, cooperation between these countries grew and seeing the benefits other European countries joined meaning more structures needed to be put in place to manage the relationships and workings of the growing European structure.
While even in the beginning, when the European Coal and Steel Community existed, there was already a consultative assembly of parliamentarians from the national parliaments of the members of the Community, it was only after much growth and changes to this earliest form of the EU that the directly elected European Parliament came into being in 1979.
Nowadays the European Parliament (EP) is one of the three main institutions involved in the creation of European law, along with the European Commission and the European Council of Ministers. It is the only directly elected EU body. Following the 2009 elections, there are 736 MEPs (this rose to 751 under the Lisbon Treaty) who represent the EU’s 501 million citizen across the 27 member states. The UK has 72 MEPs. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) serve five-year terms.
What is Brexit?
On 23rd June 2016 the UK held a referendum on whether it should remain part of the European Union (EU) or to leave the EU. Whilst over 16 million people voted to remain in the EU, including majorities in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland, 17 million voted to leave.
I voted for the UK to remain part of the European Union and feel a profound sense of disappointment at the result of the referendum.
The referendum campaign was massively divisive, with young people voting overwhelming to remain. This is just one of the many reasons the result is so sad, as those who will be impacted most and for the long term did not make this choice.
Since the referendum, which is not binding, there has been a massive amount of turmoil as exiting the EU is increasingly shown to be a mammoth task, often at odds with the national interest. The current Government, have furthermore opted to proceed with a very hard version of leaving the EU, despite have no mandate to do so, which threatens so many gains the UK has made from being part of the EU, economically, politically, culturally and socially.
The Green Party continues to stand on a platform that is pro-European, and for the UK to work closely and collaboratively with our European neighbours in the protection of our rights, freedoms and the environment, and in order to meet the shared global challenges we all face.
We continue to believe that this is best served by the UK being in the EU. We also believe any deal reached on the UK’s exit from the EU must be put to another referendum so that the British people can democractically chose what future relationship they want with the EU or if indeed they want to remain part of the EU. If that proves politically impossible, we will work for the UK to have the closest possible relationship with the EU as the negotiations proceed and the options are explored.
As long as the UK remains part of the EU, as a Green MEP I will continue to work for the best interests of progressive politics, for my constituents in London and for the UK as a whole. The rights of EU nationals living in the UK and the rights of UK nationals living elsewhere in the EU are also important issues, and I will be arguing that these rights need protecting.
To see more on my priorities in terms of getting the best deal for London and the UK as we exit the EU, please read my Green Guarantees leaflet.
See below for a more detailed look at the implications of Brexit on these specific issues: