• Speaker: Nigel Farage MEP, Leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), Co-President of the 'Europe of Freedom and Democracy' (EFD) Group in the European Parliament.
• Debate: Conference of Presidents meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel
Good afternoon, everybody. Chancellor Merkel,
So you're off to Downing Street to negotiate the EU budget with David Cameron. And you do so against the backdrop of the Court of Auditors, yesterday, for the 18th year in a row, failing to give the accounts a clean bill of health; you do so against the vote in the House of Commons last week where a majority of MPs were asking for reductions in the EU Budget.
And of course you do so with a growing anger in Britain - Why are we pumping £53 million a day of British taxpayers' money into this Union? Not that it will matter a bit. Cameron is a very weak Prime Minister, I am sure you shall walk all over him tonight and win that negotiation. But the EU budget isn't really the question. It is Britain's place in this Union that is the real question. And increasingly Britain looks like a square peg in a round hole.
You see, we didn't join the Eurozone and that means that every time you have one of your summits in Brussels, when the big debates are going on, there is actually nothing for the British Prime Minister to say. And in fact if we do say anything we are now seen as the dog in the manger. The fact is Chancellor, you are now leading the Eurozone on a journey to a much more deeply centralised and I think more fundamentally undemocratic Europe. But nonetheless, we simply cannot join you on that journey.
Whether it is harmonisation of financial market regulations as you said today, whether it is the Financial Transaction Tax, whether it is the Banking Union - Cameron is forced into the position, time and time again where there is nothing he can say other than "No". Because British public opinion, and now as the Labour Party appears to have discovered a bit of Euroscepticism, or at least a bit of opposition, he cannot join these conversations. Now I sense in Brussels, not from you, but certainly around this chamber, an increasingly growing hostility to the United Kingdom's membership of this Union. And indeed there are many here who blame the Anglo-Saxon markets in London and New York for the faults of the Eurozone.
Wouldn't it be better Chancellor, tonight if you went to Downing Street and said to Mr Cameron, 'Look, this simply doesn't work anymore, it really is time for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. He hasn't got the courage to say it himself but if you said it to him, it might have an impact.
All I am suggesting Chancellor is that we have a simple amicable divorce and that we'll all get on much better in the future.
Second Speech after Merkel's Response:
It's a very different European Union, isn't it!
The 17 eurozone countries are on a journey and are moving somewhere completely different. And every single proposal that you come up with, Mr Cameron is forced to say No to. So we are going to find ourselves effectively as the Cinderella state. Because you will make big decisions that affect the Single Market of which we are a member but according to you, even UK members of this Parliament won't be able to vote on issues that affect the Eurozone which undeniably knock on to the Single Market. So I understand what you are saying but frankly we find ourselves now in a completely illogical position.
I would have thought that Britain will either have to be wholly fully in or wholly fully out and with a simple Free Trade agreement. And maybe Mr Cameron would agree with you on this but ultimately the British populace are seeking a totally new settlement.