Hans-Olaf Henkel, a German independent MEP as well as a former chairman of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) was speaking during a plenary debate with Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez about the possibility of a new deal with the United Kingdom.
During his emotional speech, Mr Henkel said he was happy Germany had lost the original Battle of Britain in 1940 when Hitler’s plans for an invasion were thwarted by the RAF. However, he affirmed: “Today, almost 80 years later, I want to win this battle for Europe.”
“Not with weapons and threats, but with diplomacy and tact, we must win back the hearts of the British for Europe.” he added.
He also placed most of the blame for Britain’s decision two years ago on the EU itself, and especially the controversial Treaty of Lisbon signed by the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2007, which aimed to create an “ever closer union” between member states.
“Europe has promised subsidiarity and delivered centralism; it has defined competitiveness as a value and instead communicated debt.”
“Europe has promised protection and in the end, to the dismay of its citizens, has opened the door for illegal immigration.” he added.
“Let’s be honest: the outcome of the referendum of 2017 was not only decided in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast, but also previously determined in Brussels, Strasbourg and yes, especially in Berlin.”
Mr Henkel who was a former member of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, urged colleagues: “Let us stop verbally shooting at the British with excessive morality and total misunderstanding of facts.
“Let us not just reflect on how bad a Brexit would be, let us just grab it and reach out to the British to keep this important country in the Union. On fair terms!” hr added.
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