UKIP Leader Nigel Farage speaks during the debate commemorating 100 years on from the First World War, Strasbourg,16.04.2014
• European Parliament, Strasbourg, 15 April 2014
• 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: 100 years on from the First World War: lessons to learn and future of Europe
Council and Commission statements
In you introduction you said that the First World War was an industrial war. And indeed, you've only got to drive two hours up the A4 from here and visit the battlefield at Verdun to see exactly what you were talking about. For those who haven't visited I think it's probably the grimmest battlefield I've certainly visited on the Western Front or indeed anywhere in the world.
And it was something that had such a huge psychological effect on France that it very much dominated the thinking of Monnet and Schumann post-1945, that this awful think must not happen again. And those of us in politics will all remember the rather famous photograph of quite a large German Chancellor Kohl and a rather small French president Mitterrand, holding hands, standing in front of that ossiary at Douaumont.
And so the whole European project comes from the disaster that was sparked by the First World War and it is entirely understandable that people should have sought ways to prevent such awfulness.
The difficulty is that they chose the wrong target. Monnet and Schumann decided - and it's shared today by Mr Barroso and the Cohn-Bendits and others - they decided that it was the existence of Nation State that led to war and therefore we have to abolish Nation State.
Actually, what we should have focussed on post-1945, isn't the abolition of states, it's to make sure that the European states were democratic, because democratic nation states do not go to war with eachother.
So I have to say that I believe the whole European project is based on a falsehood - and it's potentially a dangerous falsehood, because if you try to impose a new flag, a new anthem, a new president, a new army, police force, foreign policy, whatever else - if you try to impose that without first seeking the consent of the people, you're in danger actually of creating the very nationalisms and resentment that you sought to snuff out in the first place.
We've done this all before. We did it after the First World War in the Balkans. We said we can't have all these little Balkan states go around fighting with eachother - let's bring them together, let's give them one flag, one anthem, one president and let's call it Yugoslavia. And it led to horrific wars since 1990, the deaths of tens of thousands of people, as people have fought to get out of a false state.
The European Union is making a very similar mistake because there is no consent for this project. I've heard people this morning, talking about the need for a United States of Europe on a federal model. You can only have that if people give consent for it, and nobody has.
And when you put the Constitution [Lisbon treaty prototype] to the peoples of Europe - the first time you really come clean with the electors - they rejected it.
I'm not against Europe, but I'm against this Europe. I want a Europe of independent, sovereign nation states that trade together, that work together, that cooperate together, and I believe the European Elections this year will mark a turning point. The tide is turning. You're backing an outdated model that seeks to get rid of a problem that actually hasn't existed since 1945.