• European Parliament, Strasbourg, 11 February 2015
• Nigel Farage MEP, Leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), Co-President of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) Group in the European Parliament - http://www.nigelfaragemep.c...
- Bluecard question: Jörg LEICHTFRIED MEP(Austria), Socialist group (S&D)
• Debate: Preparation of the informal meeting of Heads of State or Government (12 February 2015)
Council and Commission statements
Having listened to this, this morning there are very few people in this room who understand or dare to admit the significance of this moment we have reached. In the wake of the historic Greek elections there are big questions, not just about the future of the Eurozone. But actually about the future of the European project itself. There's a great game of poker that is taking place for the future of this currency.
And on the one hand we have the EU institutions. Now however much my warnings over the years may have upset people when I said the EU would crush and kill and destroy nation state democracy, I think the behaviour of the key players since the Greek elections justifies everything I've said. We've had the German finance minister, Mr Schauble saying elections change nothing. And Mr Juncker, Mr Juncker who is not here today which is disappointing, he ought to be hanging his head in shame. I guess, or perhaps he's busy getting his euros out of Greece. I've no idea.
But Mr Juncker said there can be no democratic choice against the European treaties, so there it is folks. It doesn't matter how you vote, which government you elect, these treaties are designed to be there forever and agreements by previous governments bind parliaments that come for years and years afterwards. And what it means is that the European project is in fact the very antithesis of the democratic principle. I think these comments frankly are disgusting. I guess we are all asking the question of who will blink first.
On the other side we've got this new, radical, left wing Greek government and I wasn't quite sure what to make of them until I saw last week ambling up Downing Street, Yanis Varoufakis. And there he was with his leather bomber jacket and his blue shirt hanging out the front of his trousers, his shaven head, hands in pockets. Looking a bit like a sort of off duty night club bouncer. Now I'm not normally a fan of Marxist academics but having seen this fella I suspect perhaps he is the real deal. At least I hope he is, because what is at stake is clear from the comments we've had from Germany, from people in this chamber this morning. What is at stake is clear, do the Greek elections mean anything? Yes or no?
I hope the Greeks stand firm whatever the consequences. If they do, the free world will applaud them.
Blue card response:
Well what I was saying is there is an atmosphere of denial. Do you know the Latvian presidency, in your wonderful speech this morning, at no point did you mention the word Greece? Mr Timmermans, very briefly touched on Greece and many speakers just ignored the subject. What I am saying is people are in denial. We are at a very, very big, important, historic juncture and that what is at stake is do General Elections in our member states count for anything or not? And I think those arguments and those debates are far more important than whether I have written any reports or gone native and become part of the system, because I most certainly have not.
• Video: EbS (European Parliament)
• EU Member States:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom