Jeremy Corbyn, your fellow European socialists need you in the EU

In an open letter, we ask you to do all you can to stop Brexit – and spearhead the movement for progressive change in Europe

Dear Jeremy Corbyn,

We are writing to you as fellow socialists and progressives to urge you to work with us for the future of our continent.

The left is resurgent across Europe; each of us sees this in our own movements, and in one another’s. Your Labour party, the breadth of its vision, the passion of its language, the strength of its membership, has brought inspiration and optimism to us all. Which we need, for the picture is not at all rosy. Fascism is on the rise within Europe, buoyed and supported, implicitly and explicitly, by an invigorated authoritarianism without. Corporate interests prevail, unchecked by a post-ideological politics which has exhausted itself. Climate change becomes climate crisis, and those who deny it become ever more forceful.

We all have deep misgivings about the dominant institutions of the European Union, and what they have become over the past three decades. The contagious creed of austerity has spread through its airways. The interests of capital and global corporations have come to take precedence over those of citizens. Despite more wealth than ever before, the disparities across the continent have fostered exploitation and insecurity. And despite the liberty and adventure that the EU has opened up, the deaths in the Mediterranean are evidence of the emergence of terrifying new and old prejudices and fears.

Yet we are not ready to surrender this once great project to those who would subvert it. To do so would betray its creators, whose values we cherish. More importantly, it would leave us weakened when we most need our strength, and isolated when we most need our solidarity. There is no answer to any of these questions that is not transnational. There is no way that our frustrated fellow citizens will feel represented unless they can be heard at European and global levels.

We need you in the EU. Nobody understands better what it takes – from the law, from the union movement, from activism – to bring to life and fruition the ambitions and dreams of every citizen. We need you, as you can become a catalyst for a different Europe, providing new and necessary momentum for true progressive change. We need one another, just as we needed one another at the inception of the EU, to meet the most urgent challenges mankind can ever face: to avoid war; to foster equality; to cooperate in the face of threats to our planet; to harness solidarity that it might achieve the most of which it is capable.

As your trades unions point out, it is usual in a negotiation that the final deal is taken back to the members. We would ask you to demand that the decision to trigger article 50 is revoked, in light of the recent opinion from the advocate general to the European court of justice, and allow the people’ s voice to be heard before Brexit becomes irreversible. We hope that the Labour party will spearhead such an initiative and join us in embarking on a programme of Europe-wide transformation.

In solidarity,

Signed: George Papandreou, president of the Socialist International; Udo Bullman MEP, president of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament;
Marc Tarabella MEP
Boris Zala MEP
PierAntonio Panzeri MEP

Foto: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images