EU airbrushes UK off maps in report about future of social mobility in Europe

Caroline Mortimer
A lost cause? Pro-EU protester holds up placard against Brexit in Rome ahead of 60th anniversary celebrations: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

The UK has been airbrushed off a European Commission report on social issues just under two years before Brexit.

Entitled “Reflection paper on the social dimension of Europe”, it does not make any reference to Britain or its plan to leave the union on any of its 36 pages.

Reflecting on a White Paper introduced during the celebration of the Union’s 60th birthday in Rome last month, it said the Commission needed to come up with ways to promote their “shared social aspiration”.

Britain, which formally leaves the union on 29 March 2018, does not appear to be part of that future.

The report said: “In spite of its extraordinary achievements, challenges persist across Europe. The economic crisis has left deep marks in people's lives and in our societies.

“People are questioning whether the benefits and the challenges that come with open markets and societies, with innovation and technological shifts, are evenly spread.

“Their trust in Europe's ability to shape the future and to deliver fair and prosperous societies has been eroded.

Not gone but forgotten: The UK is greyed out on maps featuring EU statistics (European Commission)

“Looking ahead, the debate should be about how to adapt our social models to current and future challenges and galvanise Europe's social spirit”.

The report looks at how the remaining 27 member states are faring when it comes to measures such as unemployment and quality of life.

The news that the EU is already looking ahead to its post-Brexit existence will undoubtedly come as a disappointment to Remainers who are still hoping to stay in the EU.

The Liberal Democrats have made a promise to hold a second referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal a key plank of the election manifesto and campaigner, while Gina Miller has raised over £300,000 to give to candidates standing against Eurosceptic MPs in marginal constituencies to fight a hard Brexit.

The Government have repeatedly said the triggering of Article 50 would not be reversed with some Conservative MPs saying the mechanism was “irreversible”.

But one of the authors of the clause in the Lisbon Treaty, Lord John Kerr, said it was completely reversible as it had never been meant to be used in the first place.

He said: “If, having looked into abyss, we changed our minds about withdrawal, we certainly could - and no-one in Brussels could stop us.”

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