Regarding the results of the referendum concerning Great Britain remaining a member of the EU, Frithjof Schmidt, deputy head of fraction, and Manuel Sarrazin, spokesman for European issues, declare:
The decision of the public in Great Britain is a historic setback for the European Union and the European integration.
We accept the decision of the public in Great Britain. Now, a fair exit treaty has to be negotiated. A part of this is, that the British government now declare, whether it has any additional demands for the exit negotiations. For the European Union, the main focus now must be to uphold and strengthen the cohesion of the union with 27 member states. The exit negotiations with the United Kingdom must submit to this goal.
The campaign in Great Britain has been – especially by the leave campaign – strongly pointed and from time to time unobjective and populistic. As seen elsewhere, a polarisation of the public has been observed, that can become dangerous for democratic systems. The result of the referendum is also caused by the fact, that the EU in recent years has been unable to find common responses to important common questions.
Deficits of the european integration have duly been analyzed, yet there was no will amongst the heads of governments, to resolve these by structurally improving the EU. Due to this stagnation, it was and still is impossible to successfully stand up to the Europe scepticists and populists. Now, a debate is needed about how the EU, with all its 27 future member states, can be further developed in order to achieve more democracy, social justice, prosperity and sustainability for all. Europe can only overcome its crisis if it answers the sorrows and fears of its citizens.
The European Union faces great challenges. Anti-european forces gain ground in many countries and wish for a way back into national small-mindedness. We are strongly convinced that we can only face global challenges in the future together. The prospect of gaining sovereignty by leaving the EU is an illusion when facing all border crossing tasks today. We decisively stand behind the project of European integration.