Thursday 8 December 2016

Nigel Farage jeered and booed as he tells European Parliament: 'You're not laughing now'

Published 28/06/2016 | 11:02

Handout photo issued by the EU of Nigel Farage speaking at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium: Dominique Hommel/European Union/PA Wire
Handout photo issued by the EU of Nigel Farage speaking at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium: Dominique Hommel/European Union/PA Wire

UKIP leader Nigel Farage told fellow MEPs "you're not laughing now" as he was barracked and booed at an emergency meeting of the European Parliament to discuss Brexit.

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Mr Farage accused them of being "in denial" about the euro crisis, immigration and the imposition "by stealth, by deception, without ever telling the truth" of a political union.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, greets UKIP leader Nigel Farage during a special session of European Parliament in Brussels (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, greets UKIP leader Nigel Farage during a special session of European Parliament in Brussels (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

He also told MEPs that they had "never had a proper job before"

Offering a tongue in cheek "thank you for the warm welcome", he told them: "When I came here 17 years ago and said I wanted to lead a campaign to get Britain to leave the European Union you all laughed at me.

"Well I have to say you're not laughing now are you?"

As the session was disrupted by constant shouts of dissent, Parliament president Martin Schulz was forced to intervene, warning members that "one major quality of democracy is that you listen to those even if you don't share their opinion".

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, left, waves prior to addressing a special session of European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, left, waves prior to addressing a special session of European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, greets UKIP leader Nigel Farage during a special session of European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, greets UKIP leader Nigel Farage during a special session of European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, greets UKIP leader Nigel Farage during a special session of European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, greets UKIP leader Nigel Farage during a special session of European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Earlier European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker asked lawmakers of UKIP why they had attended a European Parliament session to discuss the consequences of the British vote to leave the bloc.

"We must respect British democracy and the way it has expressed its view," Juncker said in a speech to parliament, words that were greeted by rare applause from the UKIP members present.

"That's the last time you are applauding here... and to some extent I'm really surprised you are here. You are fighting for the exit. The British people voted in favour of the exit. Why are you here?" Juncker continued, breaking from his speech text.

Juncker spoke from a desk next to that of Mr Farage, who followed the largely French and German speech with headphones and with a British flag planted in front of him.

Before the session began, Farage had gone over to speak to Juncker. Both men appeared relaxed and as Farage made to leave, Juncker pulled him close and gave him an air-kiss on the cheek.

Juncker said he would make no apology for being "sad" at the result of the British vote - "I am not a robot," he said, "I am not a grey bureaucrat."

He urged Britain to explain quickly what it wanted from the EU in terms of a new relationship but insisted he had told his staff to engage in no preliminary talks with British officials until London engages the two-year mechanism for leaving the EU.

"No notification, no negotiation," he said.

On a rare personal note, the 61-year-old former Luxembourg prime minister, struck out at critics, notably in the German press but also among east European governments, who have called on him to stand down following the Brexit vote.

"I am neither tired or sick, as the German papers say," he said. "I will fight to my last breath for a united Europe."

 

 

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