Following the result of the UK referendum, S&D Group President Gianni Pittella said:

“This is a sad day for Europe but it is not the funeral of Europe. We wanted Great Britain to stay in Europe but we respect the voice of the British people. Cameron will go down in history as the Prime Minister who pushed UK out of the EU as a result of divisions within his own party. This is an historic mistake the responsibility of which he will bear on his shoulders. We salute the efforts of all Labour MEPs and volunteers who pushed so hard for a positive result. Despite the outcome, the British people will always be European to us.

“Now the UK is out and the EU must define our new relationship with UK as soon as possible. We will immediately ask the British government to formally state their will to leave so that Article 50 of the treaty can be triggered.

“Deep changes are necessary. We can’t afford to settle for this Europe anymore. The S&D Group will push for a new political agenda starting with the social agenda. We must finally end social dumping in Europe. We must put an end to austerity, by finally changing the stability and growth pact. The Commission must eradicate fiscal dumping, tax havens and tax avoidance. We need to finalise the Commission plan for migration, with an EU border and coast guard, a functioning relocation system for refugees and the migration compact.

“However, we need to ensure that Europe has the tools it needs to face global challenges. To do this Europe needs a new institutional framework. We will mobilise all Socialist parties and citizens to come up with a coherent and ambitious Institutional reform platform. We need to see the reform of the system for financing the Union, the establishment of a real EU Finance minister with an appropriate budget and fiscal capacity, the creation of a European FBI with real investigative powers and finally an innovative and direct electoral system to choose the President of the Commission.

“Based on our platform, the S&D Group will work to create a wide consensus in the European Parliament in order to challenge the Commission and the veto powers of governments in the Council.

“We are fully convinced that status quo is simply not acceptable. It would represent a death sentence for Europe. We must open a new chapter in the history of European integration.”

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