European citizenship needs to be a reality and not only a statement.

Yesterday the British have chosen to leave the European Union. We are disappointed by this choice which marks a deep failure of the European Union to convince citizens of its interest. We cannot ignore the fact that this decision is also a result of the rise of the far right and their hate speech against migrants, muslims and all minorities.

It is bad news especially because those who will suffer from it the most and the longest will be young people, who have themselves voted massively in favour of Remain. It’s a shame that so many young people who were in favour of remaining in the EU were unable to vote because they are under 18. This shows that participation of young people is an important issue.

This decision is a development of British politics, but also of European politics. For too long now, European governments and institutions have been ignoring the wake-up calls they have received, may it be the 2005 referendum failure, the rejection of austerity measures by the Greek people and most importantly the continuous rise of the far right in so many countries.

As Young European Socialists, we tell European leaders and institutions : if you truly believe in Europe, you have to act now. European integration is not an irreversible trend. Things have to change now, or they will most probably never do and we will face years of European disintegration.

The most terrible consequence of this referendum would not be the UK leaving the EU but European leaders keeping with « business as usual », saying how shocked they are and yet continuing to impose austerity and neoliberal reforms of the labour market, refusing to create common asylum and migration rules as well as coordinated economic policies and harmonised social and fiscal norms.

European citizenship needs to be a reality and not only a statement, thanks to European-wide solidarity in economic and social matters, and a real European budget able to ensure equality, fight poverty and invest in the future to create jobs.

We call for the immediate and strong reaction that finally enables a democratic, unite, social and green Europe to exist.

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