UKIP Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Nigel Farage declared in Brussels today that Article 50 should be invoked as soon as possible, and that Eurocrats were “in denial” over the failings of the European Union (EU) political project.
Speaking at the EU Referendum debate at the European Parliament, following the address by President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, UKIP MEP and party leader Nigel Farage stated that the British government should invoke Article 50 as soon as possible, and that it was in the best mutual interests of Britain and the EU to have a tariff-free deal.
Mr. Farage opened his first address of the European Parliament since the historic win on Thursday:
Isn’t it funny. When I came here 17 years ago, you all laughed at me when I said that I wanted to lead a campaign to get Britain to leave the European Union. You all laughed at me. Well I have to say, you’re not laughing now, are you?
Addressing the vocal malcontent of his fellow MEPs, Mr. Farage called out an EU as “a political project in denial”, slamming the bloc for undermining the sovereignty of European nations:
The biggest problem you’ve got and the main reason the UK voted to leave is that you have, by stealth and deception…imposed upon us a political union. And when the people in 2005 in the Netherlands and France voted against that political union, when they rejected the constitution, you simply ignored them and brought the Lisbon treaty in through the back door.
On the push for Brexit by British voters, Mr. Farage said:
What happened last Thursday was a remarkable result. It was indeed a seismic result, not just for British politics, for European politics but global politics, too. Because what the ‘little people’ did, what ordinary people did, what the people who have been oppressed did…was reject big multinationals, reject big politics.
On Article 50 Mr. Farage said that it should be completed without delay:
It is up to British government to invoke Article 50, and I have to say that I don’t think we should spend too long in doing it. I agree with Juncker that the British people have voted and we need to make sure that it happens.
Mr. Farage predicted that the UK will not be the last member state to leave the EU, with Britain “offer[ing] a beacon of hope to democrats across the rest of Europe”.
He reminded the Parliament of the dependence of the EU on Britain, and that there is a future for relations between Britain and the EU:
Between us…we do an enormous amount of business. That trade is mutually beneficial to both of us. If you were to cut off your noses to spite your faces and to reject any idea of a sensible trade deal the consequences would be far worse for you than it would be for us…Even if tariffs were introduced on products like motor cars then hundreds of thousands of German workers would risk lose their jobs.
So let’s be pragmatic, sensible and realistic. Let’s cut between us a sensible tariff free deal and thereafter recognise that the United Kingdom will be your friend, we will trade with you, we will cooperate with you, we will be your best friends in the world, but do that sensibly and allow us to go off and pursue our global ambitions and future.