• Nigel Farage MEP, Leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), Co-President of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) Group in the European Parliament - @Nigel_Farage
• Debate: Mid-term review of the EU Investment Plan Commission statement [2016/2732(RSP)]
Those who called the Juncker Investment Plan a rip-roaring success just have a look around at the empty seats this morning. The idea that tens of billions of private capital are going to arrive for joint projects with you guys frankly I think is pie in the sky. Though happily Mr Cameron, of course, has committed six billion pounds of our money to this project, if ever you’re short of money just ask Mr Cameron because he always pays up. But it is I think these grand projects that in many ways, I think are sowing the seeds of the end of this political project.
I came in here in 1999 and sat at the back and there were only three of us in the whole building who thought our member state should leave the European Union. But it is grand projects that have turned the tide of public opinion, in particular the introduction of the Euro. I warned you, we all warned you; it would not work for the Mediterranean countries. It could comfortably work for the optimal currency zone in the North but no, through massive ambition and hubris you ploughed on and you allowed countries like Greece to join a currency that they were never fit for. And what has happened to Greece now? Well they’re facing the next bailout in probably July of this year and because you want to hold your project together you are forcing them bit by bit to become a third world country and all I can say frankly is shame on you. The other big grand project was to allow into this union, first eight and then ten, former communist countries. Some of them with human rights records that are frankly shocking and abysmal and others in which corruption is so rife that these countries have not made the transition to being full Western democracies.
When I was first elected here the word immigration did not even appear on my election address. We did not use that word once when the first three of us got elected here, but now as we have allowed much poorer countries to have the free movement of peoples, we see considerable anger in Britain and in many countries across the North of Europe. And yes it has led to rise of parties that some may consider to be deeply unpleasant, but that is what happens when you take control out of people’s lives.
And the other feature that I have noticed here is the growth of what I can only describe as authoritarianism. We actually saw the Prime Minister of Greece removed effectively by a coup d’état and we saw Mr Berlusconi removed by a coup d’état and in both cases replaced by appointees who were former directors of Goldman Sachs. So I think you’ve sown the seeds of your own destruction.
We have in two weeks’ time what is to be the biggest event in the history of this project. It is the British referendum and it’s not just about whether Britain leaves the European Union because if we make that choice I’m confident many other countries will make that choice too. I did originally believe that we should leave because we were a square peg in a round hole but when I saw what happened here in 2005 when the French and Dutch rejected the constitution and yet, sneakily, it was brought in through the back door as the Lisbon Treaty I realised then this is not just bad for Britain it is bad for the whole of Europe. And I hope on June 23rd it is not just independence day for the United Kingdom, I hope it brings an end to this entire project and in a few years’ time we can be sovereign, democratic nation states that work and trade together. I hope this is the last time I’ll be speaking in this parliament from a Member State and I hope that we are going to leave this union on June 23rd. So I’m going out now, I may be some time.