The Quaker Council of European Affairs issued the following statement on 27th June 2016:
Comment on UK referendum decision
The Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA) has commented on the result of the UK’s EU membership referendum. QCEA has also provided a quiet space for reflection in Brussels since the result was announced.
Leaving the EU
“The UK has decided to step away from an organisation which acts as a mechanism for dialogue, and which is a pillar of peace in Europe and the world. More effort is now needed to find ways to keep peace in Europe and to preserve the positive. In particular we should endeavour to ensure that the UK does not withdraw from the European Convention of Human Rights”, said Andrew Lane, Representative at QCEA.
“Europe, including the UK, will be in greater need of Quaker values as an antidote to an emboldened far-right and to increased division and volatility that will be felt worst by the most vulnerable.” he said.
“The UK has voted to leave the EU, but cannot leave Europe, and nor can it walk away from very real global challenges. Without the EU, the UK needs to find other ways to work in an integrated way with countries in Europe and beyond to address war, poverty and climate change”, Andrew said.
Reflection at Quaker House
Immediately after the result was announced QCEA opened the doors of Quaker House Brussels for anyone affected or worried about the UK leaving the EU. QCEA recognised that many UK nationals working within the EU institutions will have the course of their, and their family’s, lives and careers changed by the referendum result. QCEA set aside space for quiet reflection, but also welcomed visitors who wanted to share their shock and sadness.
The Quaker Council for European Affairs brings a Quaker vision of just relationships to the 28 member European Union and to the 47 member Council of Europe.
In February 2016 QCEA’s governing Council discerned that the UK should remain a member of the EU.