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The Union of European Federalists regrets the outcome of the referendum held on 23rd June 2016 in the United Kingdom. Populists and nationalists have managed to convince the majority of British citizens. In the UK, as in many other countries across Europe, the European Union is failing to gain the hearts and minds of EU citizens with clear solutions to their problems and a clear and convincing project for a better future for Europe.

EU citizens and the rest of the world are waiting to see whether the European Union can hold together or if it is starting its disintegration. The British vote is already being well-received by populists and nationalist across Europe and has the potential to unleash forces of disintegration that could jeopardise the entire European construction and the peace, stability and prosperity it provides in Europe and the bordering regions. The reaction to the British vote cannot be “business as usual”. A strong political reaction is needed to convince EU citizens that their governments are committed to European unity and that the European Union can deliver solutions to their problems.

The negotiations for Brexit should start and be completed as soon as possible, before the next European elections. EU membership means rights but also responsibilities. It is fundamental that any arrangement with the UK properly reflects the UK's choice to leave the European Union and all that the European Union represents.

At the same time the other Member States should stick together and visibly demonstrate their commitment to European integration. Solemn declarations or symbolic gestures will not be enough. A comprehensive initiative to relaunch deeper political integration is urgent. A package of reforms that do not require changes to the EU treaties can be implemented rapidly. A clear roadmap to achieve concrete progress in the key challenges facing Europe - Eurozone, refugees, internal and external security - is urgently required to deliver results and regain EU citizens’ trust. At the same time, those Member States committed to deeper political integration should make that clear, and propose a broad discussion on the future of Europe as a political project. France and Germany have a particular responsibility in this respect. The European Parliament should be the key actor in such a process and should make its proposals as soon as possible. Such a roadmap should also include needed changes to the EU treaties. Therefore the ground for a European Convention has to be prepared.

Federalists recall the goal of a federal Europe as the only way to preserve European achievements and ensure a future of unity, stability and prosperity for the continent.

24 June, 2016


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