Not the State of the Union. The Union is in a state.
European Parliament, Strasbourg – 28 September 2011
• Speaker: Nigel Farage MEP, UKIP, Co-President of the EFD Group in the European Parliament (Europe of Freedom and Democracy)
• Debate: State of the Union address by the President of the Commission, José Manuel Barroso
You told us this morning that the European Union is an inspiration. And whilst you admitted to there being one or two little economic problems, you made it perfectly clear that jobs and growth were to follow, that everything is going well – in fact you painted a vision that a new period of European renewal is upon us.
Now as a former communist yourself you probably remember the old soviet leaders getting up to give their speeches and telling everybody that there was a record harvest, or that tractor production figures were terribly good.
And they of course believed that history was on their side and in fact President Krushchev got up and said to the West ‘We will bury you,” so much did he believe in his own Union.
Well now of course we look back at that and we laugh. And I think in our tomorrows, people will look back at you, and they will say ‘how did this unelected man get all of this power?’
And how did Europe’s political class sitting in this room decide that the community method [federal] should replace national democracy.
I think people will look back in astonishment that we’ve surrendered democracy.
But what you want to do is to say, right, we have a European Union and what we’re going to have to do now is to have more of it. So as an architect – and you’re one of the key architects of the current failure – what we’re going to do, even though everything to date has been wrong – we’re going to do more of the same.
Now I thought that was a definition of madness. I can’t believe that is a rational response to any situation in which you find yourself. And far from it being a ‘State of the Union’ I would argue that the Union is in a state.
Because, just look at the confusion. We’ve got you as the President of the Commission. We’ve got a President of the European Parliament. We’ve got my old friend Herman Van Rompuy, who is the permanent president of the European Council. We’ve got the Poles – they’re now presidents temporarily [Poland holds six-month EU Council presidency] of the European Council.
We’ve got presidents all round this room, goodness me, even I am a president. I’m not sure what the collective noun for presidents is, perhaps it’s ‘incompetence’, I don’t know. But certainly when you take away democratic accountability, it’s clear nobody is in charge.
And it’s developing as a Union of intolerance. Anybody that stands up here and dares to give a political view that is different to the received wisdom is written off as mad, insane, violent, fascist – we’ve heard it for years from these people.
And the intolerance is so deep that when we get referendums in France, the Netherlands and Ireland that reject your view, you see it – as a political class – as a problem to be overcome.
So I’m very worried about the whole root of this Union. There is a new [euro-] nationalism that is sweeping Europe. You want to abolish the nation states – in your case, Mr Schulz, becuase you’re ashamed of your past – and you now want this flag and a new anthem to replace nation states and you don’t care how you get there. If you have to crush national democracy. If you have to oppose popular referendums – you just sweep this aside and say that it’s ‘populism’. Well, it’s not, it’s democracy.
And what is sweeping northern Europe now, starting off in April with that amazing result in the Finnish general election, is there is a new democratic revolution sweeping northern Europe. It’s not anti-European. It wants a Europe of trade; it wants a Europe of cooperation; it wants a Europe where we can do student exchanges, where we can work in eachother’s capital cities – it wants those things.
But it does not want this European Union.
Frankly, you are all now yesterday’s men.
(There followed a ‘Blue Card’ question by Andrew Duff MEP, Lib Dems – ALDE Group)