UKIP Leader Nigel Farage speaks during the opening debate of the 2014-19 term of the European Parliament, Strasbourg, 02.07.2014
• European Parliament, Strasbourg, 02 July 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.
• Bluecard question: Philippe LAMBERTS MEP (Belgium), Greens group
• Debate: Conclusions of the European Council meeting (26-27 June 2014)
European Council and Commission statements
In the presence of Mr Van Rompuy
Well, good morning, and what a privilege to address the three great Presidents of the European Union on behalf of my Group and on behalf of UKIP which topped the poll in the United Kingdom. Not of course it just happened there; right across Europe on the left, the centre and the right, there are now more Eurosceptics in this Parliament than have ever been seen before.
So imagine my surprise on the 27th of May as I headed to the Conference of Presidents meeting in Brussels, where the leaders of all the European Groups were in the room and I wasn't sure, you know - would they be nice to me? Would they be nasty to me? Would they accept that something fundamental had changed? Oh no, it was business of usual.
And coming from the UK, we didn't even realise that these elections were seen to be significant as far as the next Commission President was concerned. The Tories didn't have a horse in the race, the British Labour Party disowned Martin Schulz, and the Liberal Democrats, who I'm pleased to say, collapsed to one member... had you put old Verhofstadt on the British television, they would have lost the lot!
So we were pretty unaware. We were pretty unaware of what was going on. A victory of democracy? I'm not sure. The loser - who's the loser? Martin Schulz. He's become the President again of the European Parliament. It all looks like a bit of a stitch up to me.
Dave obviously misunderstood the mood: not understanding this and after some initial encouragement from a few of the Member States thinking they might block Mr. Juncker, he then ran into the new golden rule of EU politics which is: when Mrs. Merkel speaks, the other heads of State obey.
And the support for us simply melted the way you would have thought, 'when in a hole stop digging,' but no, Dave kept on digging away. And I must say as the final vote approached it began to feel a bit like the Eurovision song contest, where it doesn't really matter how good the British entry is, such is the dislike of our country around much of Europe that we're always going to lose.
I wonder what the prospects are now for renegotiation. Well Mr Juncker has had a rough ride in the British press. We're told that he drinks cognac for breakfast. I know... that is not in the UKIP manifesto, I promise you.
We're told he's 'Juncker the Drunker', we're told he's a smoker. My God, isn't that awful! Some of them even said he drinks endless cups of black coffee which is why he looks so old. I can't see him being in the mood to concede.
And back to Mrs. Merkel, she made it clear after the summit when Cameron challenged the principle of ever closer Union, she very gracefully said that we're all allowed to move at different speeds towards ever closer union, but we must continue in the same direction.
We've got a referendum coming up at some point in the not so distant future in Britain. There is one thing that would convince the British voters to vote to remain part of the European Union, and that is a fundamental treaty change that says we no longer have to accept untrammeled access to countless millions of people from across the whole of Europe. We need, and the British people demand, 80% of them want us to get back control of our borders so we can choose who comes to Britain.
Now, having lost 26-2 in the last vote in the Council of Ministers, we're going to need to do this, to succeed with this - to end total free movement, we're going to need the support of the European Parliament. Are you going to help Britain to end the free movement of peoples? I don't think so. Are we going win 28-0 in the Council of Ministers? I don't think so. It isn't going to happen. We are whistling in the wind and we are closer now to exit than ever.
And for the rest of the EU, I suspect the next five years will bring endless misery for the Southern Mediterranean eurozone countries, that perhaps is reflected by the number of Italians we now have in our Group. And what have we seen in the last 48 hours? We've seen naked militarism with the EU flag being virtually goose-stepped around the yard, we've seen the European anthem and actually, I'll tell you this, we now, the Eurosceptics, are the progressives; these two gentlemen had nothing to say today. It was the usual dirge-like dull looking back to a model invented fifty years ago, and we're the ones that want democracy, we're the ones that want Nation States, we're the ones that want a global future for our countries not be trapped inside this museum. Thank you.
Mr. Farage, what are you doing here? What I heard is basically the speech of the opposition... - Mr. Verhofstadt, Mr. Verhofstadt, I'd like some respect, please - ...Mr. Farage, what are you doing here? What I heard is the speech of the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons. If you want to hold that kind of speech, get elected there. What are you doing here? The reason why you're speaking here is that you have enlisted continental Europeans in your Group just to be able to boast, as a British citizens who wants to get out of the European Union. If you want to be considered as a leader of a European political group, then make speeches of a European political leader. Thank you.
Well, Mr. Lamberts, I have to say, you sound like somebody from the old communist era, saying that if anybody else has a different point of view clearly they're mentally ill or there is something wrong with them. What you're gpoing to have to get used to, all of you, is the idea that across the political spectrum there are now more Eurosceptics in this Parliament than have ever been and many of them do not subscribe to ever closer Union, they don't subscribe to that flag, they don't want a European anthem. They want a modern Europe where they can trade together, cooperate together and have mutual respect for eachother. And I'll tell you this, Mr Lamberts, don't worry too much about my presence because within the next five years, I won't be here. All right?