The European Union’s (EU) chief Brexit negotiator has been accused of an “outrageous slur” and “insult[ing]” British forces after clearly implying the UK has abandoned the fight against Islamic State terror in Europe by voting for Brexit.
Giving a speech in Berlin Tuesday, Michel Barnier opened by describing jihadi attacks in the EU before the referendum, claiming Britain chose not “stand shoulder to shoulder” with the bloc and fight Islamist terror, instead choosing to be “on their own”.
He also implied the election of Donald J. Trump had weakened the EU’s defence links with the U.S., and claimed that the EU taking control of national forces and creating an EU army was the best way to protect Europeans from Islamist terror.
Brexit, he said, “was a decision taken against the backdrop of a strategic repositioning by our American ally, which has gathered pace since the election of Donald Trump.
“It was a decision that came after a series of attacks on European soil, committed by young people who grew up in Europe, in our countries.
“It was a decision that came six months after the French Minister of Defence issued a call for solidarity to all his European counterparts to join forces to fight the terrorism of Daesh.
“Never had the need to be together, to protect ourselves together, to act together been so strong, so manifest. Yet rather than stay shoulder to shoulder with the Union, the British chose to be on their own again.”
— Georg Emil Riekeles (@GRiekeles) November 29, 2017
Responding to Mr. Barnier’s comments, UKIP’s Veterans’ Spokesman, MEP, and former member of the armed forces Mike Hookem told Breitbart London:
“Is this the same European Union that opened the borders of the continent to Daesh, despite direct warnings from the so-called Caliphate?”
“Mr. Barnier’s veiled accusation that Brexit will impact on the fight against Daesh is a direct insult to the brave men and women of our armed forces and the security services who put their lives on the line to fight this evil group each and every day.
“It’s an outrageous slur and one the pompous Frenchman should immediately apologise for! The UK has been at the forefront of the fight against IS for years, and Brexit has nothing to do with it.
“This is merely sour grapes from an EU bureaucrat who is trying to use the terror situation as another excuse for the formation of an EU army!” Mr. Hookham said.
“Sadly, for him, democracy, the very thing we are fighting Daesh for their lack of, got in the way!” the veterans’ spokesman added.
“To me, Barnier’s comments are nothing more than a part of a concerted provocation effort by the EU to undermine our national confidence and re-energise flagging remain supporters.
“All I can say is that as a country that has spilt its citizens’ blood on a number of occasions to protect democracy in Europe, we will continue to uphold our values both at home and abroad, as and when required; Brexit or no Brexit.
“However, it should be at the behest of the British Parliament, rather than bureaucrats in Brussels!”