Intervention on Conclusions of the European Council meeting of 19 and 20 October 2017 and presentation of the Leaders’ Agenda (Building our future together) – Tuesday 24th October 2017, morning session.
I’m here supposed to talk about Brexit, and I will do that, but before that I would like to make a short comment about the basis of our community identified by Donald Tusk. And yes, we are a territorial community; yes, we have a cultural identity; yes, we are a political community. I would like also to stress and remind that we are seen in the world as one of the most civilised jurisdiction, because of our social model: the social market economy – a market economy but not a market society. Europe is a place where every child goes to school, every sick person has health care, every elderly has a pension, and labour rights are protected. This is always fundamental to remind for us.
On Brexit, we welcome Article 50 conclusions of the EUCO, which are full in line with our Parliament resolution. We recognise the progress and the new dynamic put in place by the Florence speech of Theresa May, but also we see that we are not yet there to open the second phase, as sufficient progress has not yet been reached. We look forward to next weeks and months of negotiations in order to arrive there, and that requires to recognise fully the UK financial obligations, to fully safeguard the rights of citizens, and to fully agree on the common principles on the Irish issue. We are at touching distance, yes, but we need also to arrive to a conclusion and we encourage our UK counterpart to be constructive at the negotiations table.