Perhaps let us recognise that it was maybe impossible to unite Great Britain with the Continent, and naive maybe to reconcile the legal system of Napoleon with the common law of the British Empire, and perhaps it was never meant to be.
88 réponses sur “Le Bureau des Légendes – La face cachée des secrets”
But, and this is important — and I hope you are applauding this also — our predecessors should never be blamed for having tried, because it is important in politics, as it is in life, to try new partnerships, new horizons, to reach out to the other, to the other side of the channel.
And a young generation that will see Brexit for what it really is: a catfight in the Conservative party that got out of hand. A loss of time, a waste of energy, and I think, a stupidity. Although I continue to think that Brexit is a sad and regrettable event, I also believe it is important to remember something. Remember what Britain and Europe in these more than 40 years have achieved together. It is true, we may not have had the most passionate relationship, but it was not a failure either, not for Europe, and certainly not for Britain and the British.
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Let us not forget, Britain entered the Union as the sick man of Europe, and thanks to the single market, came out the other side. Europe also made Britain punch above its weight in terms of geopolitics, as in the heyday of the British Empire. And thank you for that because as a Liberal, I will miss that in the future. Colleagues, within a few weeks we will start the process of separation.
In this new venture let us always remember one thing. Our common bonds, our common culture, our common and shared values, our joint heritage, our history. And let us never forget that together we in fact belong to the same great European civilisation, from the Atlantic port of Bristol, I go as far as to the banks of the mighty river Volga; but maybe that is a little too far for the moment. But let us be honest, and this will be my final point.
Brexit is not only about Brexit. Brexit has to be also about our capacity for a rebirth of our European project, because let us recognise that Brexit did not happen by accident. Even though since Brexit I see what I call a change for the good in the mood of the public, let us not fool ourselves: Europe is not yet rescued and Europe has not yet recovered from the crisis.
Europe is still in need of change, I think in need of radical change: change towards a real Union, an effective Union based on values and based on the real interests of our citizens. And a Union also — and I want to conclude with this — that stands up against autocrats. Autocrats will close down their universities, to give one example. Autocrats will throw journalists into jail, as is happening today. Autocrats will make corruption their trademark.
And yesterday, as we all have seen, beyond any humanity, autocrats again bombed innocent women and children with chemical weapons in Syria, to give the nastiest example. So in these negotiations which will have to start in the coming weeks, let us never forget why our founding fathers — British and other Europeans alike — launched this European project.
There are three words: freedom, justice and peace — these are three great things that are worth fighting for. Ein knappes Dreivierteljahr ist nach dem britischen Referendum vergangenen. Die Zeit, in der sich die Streitenden die Instrumente und die Waffen zeigen, ist vorbei.
Die Zeit der verantwortungslosen Demagogie, insbesondere von Herrn Farage und anderen, ist vorbei. Jetzt muss hart verhandelt werden. Im Rahmen dieser Trennung wird offenkundig sichtbar, wie eng verwoben die Strukturen, die Lebensadern zwischen den Mitgliedstaaten inzwischen geworden sind. Es betrifft alle Bereiche. Was ist uns wichtig? Worum geht es uns auch? Wo bleibt also unsere soziale Union? And by choosing the hardest form of Brexit you chose the most extreme interpretation of the referendum.
In doing so, you encouraged all those on the continent as well as in the UK from the fringes of the political landscape and the benches of your own governments who have made grandstanding and threatening their brand of politics. On the one hand, we have to all those who call for making Britain the world champion of social and tax dumping, or even for starting a war with Spain. On the other hand, we have those who say we should punish the United Kingdom.
Have the last 70 years not told them anything?
European-security Sécurité Européenne
Mrs May, by your own choice you dug yourself a hole of contradictions. How can you have a hard Brexit without having a hard border in Ireland? How can you — to use your own words — have the freest possible trade in goods and services between Britain and the EU while you take the UK out of the single market, which allows precisely that? But above all, how can you reconcile a hard Brexit with your own stated desire of a more united UK and our claim to represent every person in the United Kingdom, including the large number of people, especially the young generation who voted in favour of remaining in the European Union?
Resolving those contradictions, so as to minimise damage to our citizens must be the objective of the negotiations to come. If we want common sense and the general interest to prevail we must ignore those who shout and posture. I agree with you, Mrs May, when you say you want to build a stronger, fairer, better Britain. Achieving stronger, fairer and better societies is a goal that many share in this Chamber. Delivering this requires us to face the Trumps and the Putins of this world, to tackle climate change, to fight terrorism and organised crime, to find common responses to the global migration challenge, to curb corporate power.
Mrs May, like it or not, we are in this together. Taking back control, being recognised as global players, requires all Europeans, including Britons, to act together. There is no such thing as absolute sovereignty. In the 21st century we can only reconquer sovereignty for democracies by sharing it. Mrs May, you want to build a Britain your children and grandchildren are proud to call home.
Let me remind you that, as we speak, many of your own citizens are proud to call not just Britain but Europe home. Let us not let them down. We have had a little history lesson this morning from Mr Verhofstadt, but he made one mistake. Had the British people known that it was the intention to get political and take away our ability to govern ourselves, we never would have done so. I am sorry to say that the response to the triggering of Article 50 has been all too predictable. Already you have made a series of demands that are not just unreasonable, but, in some cases, clearly impossible for Britain to comply with.
You began by telling us that we have to pay a bill: a cool GBP 52 billion, a figure that has clearly been plucked out of the air, which is effectively a form of ransom demand. What you could have acknowledged is that we put over GBP billion net into this project. We are actually shareholders in this building and the rest of the assets and really you should be making us an offer we cannot refuse, to go.
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That has no basis in Treaty law whatsoever. It is rather like saying you cannot guarantee yourself a dwelling for when you leave prison and I trust the British Government will completely ignore you. I suspect that Mr Tusk, who is not with us today, is still crying. He looked pretty tearful, did he not, after the British Ambassador delivered the letter last week? He tells us in his memorandum that any future trade deal must ensure that the United Kingdom is not allowed to have a competitive advantage.
This is all impossible. Add to that the hypocrisy of saying, on the one hand, that the EU will negotiate as one, and clause 22 of the Tusk document which says that the Spanish can have a total veto over the whole trade deal if they are not happy with the sovereignty of Gibraltar.
We believe in national self-determination. Your aim and ambition is to destroy nation state democracy. Gibraltar is clearly a deal-breaker on current terms. With these demands, you have shown yourselves to be vindictive, to be nasty, and all I can say is thank goodness we are leaving. You are behaving like the mafia. You think we are a hostage, we are not, we are free to go, and I know and I do understand I will change it to gangsters. All right?
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And that is how we are being treated. We are being given a ransom note.
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What must be very difficult for all of you to get into your minds is that there is a bigger world out there than the European Union. If you wish to have no deal, if you wish to force us to walk away from the table, it is not us that will be hurt. Do you know, we do not have to buy German motor cars, we do not have to drink French wine, we do not have to eat Belgian chocolate. There are a lot of other people that will give that to us. A return to tariffs will risk the jobs of hundreds of thousands of people living in the European Union, and yet what you are saying is you want to put the interests of the European Union above that of your citizens and your companies.
There will be many more to come. I say to them that you have regained your freedom and your sovereignty by invoking Article 50 and leaving the European Union. You have now regained the opportunity to flourish as a nation, to control your borders, to make their own laws and to make your own trade deals. They will try to force you to comply with all EU directives and standards, to accept hundreds of thousands of migrants, and even to accept the rulings of the European Court of Justice. They will try to open an Irish road for migrants to the UK.
I say to you that you should not give in to these demands. You are far better off outside the EU, a union which is going the way of more and more isolation. They are calling you a friend here. A friend, but they want to punish you and make you bleed. God bless the United Kingdom.
Steven Woolfe NI.