Volt’s position on Brexit. 

Volt respects the results of the 2016 referendum, in which the UK voted to leave the EU. However, Volt will welcome the UK to rejoin the EU in the future. We advocate a maximum of future cooperation between the EU and UK, but we will not accept any form of cherry-picking during the current negotiations. Furthermore, it is essential that the Good Friday Agreement be safeguarded in order to maintain peace on the island of Ireland.

Our concrete position?

The UK will be welcome to rejoin the EU at any time

What’s going on?

On 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) voted to leave the European Union (EU) in a tight referendum, with 51,9% of the voters voting to leave and 48,1% to remain in the EU. Whilst a majority of voters in Northern Ireland (55,8%) and Scotland (62,0%) voted to remain in the EU, a majority of voters in England and Wales voted to leave. A majority of voters in the UK’s largest city, London, also voted to remain in the EU. Furthermore, there was a clear difference in voting behaviour between younger and older people, with an overwhelming majority of young people across the UK voting to remain in the EU: (73% of 18-24 year olds and 62% of 25-34 year olds).

The UK’s exit from the EU creates major uncertainties with regards to  1) citizens’ rights, 2) the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (a withdrawal of the UK from the Single Market and customs union puts the Good Friday Agreement at risk), 3) the future trade relationship between the EU and the UK,  and 4) co-operation in areas crucial for the security of people and a common approach to foreign policy issues.

What’s our vision?

The EU is a project that has created unprecedented peace and prosperity in Europe. To preserve and improve this common European project, Volt seeks to enhance mutual understanding between European citizens as well as between citizens and politics. Therefore, Volt would like the UK to remain in the EU, but will respect the course of action decided by the British government following the referendum result. Volt stands for a constructive and pro-European approach in which the EU and UK citizens’ rights prevail in relation to the ongoing negotiations and future EU-UK relationship. Volt therefore advocates a maximum future cooperation between the two parties based on shared values and principles, particularly in the areas crucial to citizens’ and residents’ wellbeing and security. Volt believes that the principles of fairness and solidarity need to be preserved in the EU, thus Volt does not accept any form of cherry-picking. Volt strives to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is safeguarded to ensure peace on the island of Ireland.

Our concrete positions:

1. The UK will be welcome to rejoin the EU at any time: Volt will welcome the UK to rejoin the EU (under the same conditions as others, e.g. no rebate), especially given that the majority of people in Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as a majority of young people in the UK voted to remain in the EU.

2. Soft Brexit and no cherry-picking: Volt advocates the UK remaining in the single market and/or customs union. However, if the UK does not wish to remain in the single market and/or customs union, the UK is to be treated in the same way as other third countries that are not members of the Single Market and/or customs union (i.e. there are to be no special trade deals). The UK will be given the option to reach a trade deal with the EU, on terms equivalent to those of other third parties (e.g. Canada).

3. Citizens’ rights: Volt demands that all EU citizens living in the UK prior to the end of any eventual transition period have exactly the same rights as UK citizens (whilst maintaining their full European rights) after the UK has left the EU. Volt also demands that all UK citizens living in the EU prior to the end of any eventual transition period have exactly the same rights as EU citizens after the UK has left the EU, and that the rights of both respective groups are guaranteed by the European Court of Justice.

4. Special Status for Northern Ireland: Regardless of whether Great Britain remains in the customs union and/or Single Market or not, Northern Ireland must remain in the customs union and continue to sign up to EU rules covering agriculture, goods and value-added tax among other things needed to maintain the “all-island economy”. Furthermore, the Common Travel Area (CTA) must be upheld in order to guarantee the continued free movement of UK and Irish citizens between the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. Volt is adamant on these two demands in order to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and therefore to safeguard the Good Friday Agreement, and to rule out any risk for peace on the island of Ireland.

5. Education Union: 

- Volt advocates for the UK remaining part of the Erasmus + programme (whilst paying its fair share towards the programme): UK students should be able to study in the EU whilst EU students should be able to study in the UK under equal conditions. Developing a post-exit immigration system, with minimal barriers to allow talented European staff and students to work and study in the UK, should be a priority.

- The future academic collaboration between the UK and the EU must not be undermined by funding restrictions. The UK should be allowed to participate in the Union’s research programmes which will however require the UK and its beneficiaries to respect all relevant EU legal provisions including co-financing. Accordingly, the eligibility to apply to participate in union programmes and union funding for UK participants and projects will be unaffected by the UK’s withdrawal from the union.

6. Financial obligations: Volt demands that the UK meets all of its obligations arising from its EU membership and all of its financial commitments made.

7. Continued Foreign and Security Policy Co-operation: The EU and the UK share fundamental liberal values and should be able to stand up for those together in the future, internally as well as externally. Therefore, the UK and the EU should have a legally binding treaty that formally structures and coordinates their foreign and security policy. All formal structures should be backed by extensive informal contacts with the EU and member states. The EU-Canada agreement may provide a good example for a possible future arrangement.

8. Development policy: Volt welcomes continued UK contributions to and participation in EU-run aid programmes that are of interest to both parties.

9. Intelligence Sharing: For the sake of European and UK residents and citizens’ safety, the UK should maintain current security arrangements and continue close cooperation with the EU in intelligence sharing and police cooperation. The two parties should reach agreements to the continued cooperation in agencies - such as EUROPOL - and maintain access to the Schengen Information System and Prüm Database. Furthermore, the EU and UK should continue to commit to data sharing and EU cybersecurity standards.

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