Tuesday, September 27

Farage gives a frosty welcome to new Member States

UKIP leader in the European Parliament Nigel Farage, gave an icy welcome to Parliamentarians from Rumania and Bulgaria as they attended the Parliament sitting in Strasbourg this week. The MPs from the two countries due to join the EU in 2007, were in Strasbourg to see how their future colleagues work. This is what Nigel Farage had to say to them:

"I welcome our friends from Bulgaria and Romania. They will be warmly received by this ever‑expanding European empire.

I would say this to them: although you are not elected, you will be treated as full members of the European political elite. You will be entitled to the very generous daily allowance; you will find the chauffeur service at your disposal; there will be an endless round of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and drinks receptions. After all that, with your expanded waistlines, the plan is that you go back to your home countries and tell people that all is well with this club that you have agreed to join.

As Marx said – and I mean Groucho Marx, not Karl Marx – 'I wouldn't join any club that would have me as a member'. As far as the EU is concerned that is pretty sound advice, because this is a club whose accounts have not been signed off for the last ten years. This is a club, as you heard from the group leaders earlier, that is treating the voters of France and the Netherlands with absolute contempt as it tries to impose the provisions of a Constitution that should be dead. It is a club that will take away your very rights to govern yourselves and, sadly, is increasingly beginning to resemble the very political system from which you have just escaped. You will hear barracking from those who live on this European Union and who earn far more here than they would ever be worth in the commercial world.

You are here as observers, so just have a look around. What are we doing here today? What a nonsense that we are spending EUR 200 million a year of taxpayers' money on the monthly jaunt to Strasbourg. Have a look tomorrow and on Wednesday and Thursday at the absolutely farcical voting system here and realise that whatever Mr Barroso said last week about deregulation, less regulation and the sixty legislative acts they intend to withdraw, there have been some 2 000 legislative instruments passed in the short period since 1 July, when the British took over the Presidency of the Council.

Please look and go back and tell your people the truth. The ten Member States that joined last year all had referendums in their countries. I understand there is no intention to hold referendums in Romania and Bulgaria. Do not those people deserve the chance at least to vote in a referendum and have a debate? Would it not be a huge, historic mistake to railroad those people into this failing European Union without first telling them the truth? The British people were lied to 30 years ago about this European club. Your people deserve better than that."

(Applause from the IND/DEM Group)

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