“The European Project is begging to die” and a “new Berlin Wall…called the euro” is dividing the continent Nigel Farage told the European Parliament this morning. He was speaking directly after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whom he praised as “very brave” for calling a referendum – said “there were threats and bullying but the Greeks stood firm.”
Flanked by colleagues displaying Greek ‘No’ placards, Farage reiterated his long held belief: “If you try to force together different people and different economies without first seeking the consent of those people it is unlikely to work.”
He said Greece should never have joined the single currency and bemoaned “the big banks, big business and big politics [who] forced you in,” adding “they were all very happy when the bailouts began. They weren’t for the Greek people, those bailouts were for French, German and Italian banks.”
“You should lead the Greek people out of the Eurozone with your head held high. Get back your democracy; get back control of your country,” he proclaimed
Tsipras looked on with little emotion during Farage’s contribution to the sometimes stormy debate and as his unlikely ally ended listened to applause in the chamber.
The full transcript follows:
Thank you. What we’re seeing in this chamber this morning and indeed across the whole of Europe is an irreconcilable cultural difference between Greece and Germany. A split between the North and the South of Europe. The European project is actually beginning to die.
Nobody in this room will recognise that the peoples of Europe are saying, we were never asked whether we want in this. This has been foisted upon on us and we need to understand why the EMU doesn’t work. Those monsters Kohl and Mitterrand, backed up by the clever but dangerous Delors believed that if they put in place an economic and monetary union then as night follows day, there would be political union and there would be an acceptance of this project and the North and South of Europe would converge. That we would all start to love each other and we would all start to feel a European identity, that we would all start to show allegiance to the flag and the anthem.
Those, of course, that criticised this were told we were extremists and we lacked vision. Well one vision we didn’t lack is we understood the countries of Europe are different and if you try to force together different people and different economies without first seeking the consent of those people it is unlikely to work and the plan has failed.
This isn’t just Greece we’re talking about today, the whole of the Med now finds itself in the wrong currency and yet virtually nobody in the political arena has the courage to stand up and say that. Indeed, I feel that the continent is now divided from North to South, there is a new Berlin wall and it is called the euro. The old enmities have been resumed. Just listen to the way the German leader of the CDU group this morning attacked Mr Tsipras. He was actually disgusting but it shows the way North and South feel about each other.
Mr Tsipras, your country should never have joined the euro, I think you acknowledge that. But the big banks, big business and big politics forced you in. Goldmans Sachs, the German arms manufacturers, they were all very happy when the bailouts began. They weren’t for the Greek people, those bailouts were for French, German and Italian banks. They haven’t helped you at all. These years of austerity, years of high employment and increasing poverty, none of it’s worked. In fact, your debt GDP ratio has gone from 100 percent at the start of the crisis to 180 percent right now.
It would be madness sir, to continue on this course.
You have been very brave. You called that referendum. When one of your predecessors tried to do the same the bully boys in Brussels had him removed. They tried their best again, Mr Juncker said you would have to leave the Euro and leave the EU. Even Mr Schulz, the president of the parliament, who one would have thought might have been neutral, said that if the Greeks voted no then power supplies might even go down. There were threats and bullying but the Greeks stood firm. But sir, you cannot have your cake and eat it. They will give you no more these people. They cannot afford to, if they give you more they have to give other Eurozone members more.
So your moment has come, and frankly if you have the courage you should lead the Greek people out of the Eurozone with your head held high. Get back your democracy; get back control of your country. Give your people the leadership and the hope that they crave. Yes it will be tough in the first few months but with a devalued currency and with friends of Greece all over the world, you will recover.”