Heinz Bierbaum, the President of European Left, comments on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union after 47 years of membership:
“In the past 40 years the neoliberal capitalism has left many people behind. The result in the UK: anger and outrage. But if you look for simple solutions, anger may have a blinding effect. The right-wing populists take advantage of this and stir up fears among the population using lies and half-truths. The immediate consequences of the Brexit campaign include the increase in hate crimes against a large number of marginalized groups, including LGBTIQ, People of Color and migrants from Eastern Europe. We should oppose such a curse of events! We have to take a clear stand against racism, xenophobia and homophobia. The European Left calls for an end to the inhumane austerity policy in Great Britain and the EU and calls for international solidarity among the workers. In this situation it is all the more important to stand up for the political alternatives from the left, as proposed by Labor in Great Britain. A change of policy with sustainable solutions to social and ecological problems is necessary.
Brexit comes at a crucial moment for the EU. There are crises all over the continent. We are witnessing an intensifying social conflict in connection with a widespread revolt against the political elites. The Brexit vote of June 2016 was a sign of such a revolt. The rise of nationalist and right-wing populist parties, as well as the decline of social democracy, has in recent years marked the politics in many EU countries.
The coming year will be a time of uncertainty for people living in the UK. The ongoing privatization of health care and the high chance of an unregulated Brexit do not suggest anything good. The neoliberal course of politics is likely to enter the next round after the Brexits under Toris. The task of politics should be to protect human rights and – not to forget – to ensure peace in Ireland by fully respecting the Good Friday Agreement. ”
On June 23, 2016, a referendum was held in the UK on the country’s stay in the European Union. Around 46.5 million UK citizens were eligible to vote. The turnout was 72.2 percent. 51.9 percent of the voters voted for the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union and 48.1 percent voted for remaining. The European Parliament recently ratified the withdrawal agreement with 621 to 49 votes. January 31 marks the official date of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. Negotiations on future UK-EU relations may, however, continue for months.