Martin Schulz: EU under threat "like never before"
Time to fight back against those that want to build walls around their countries, warns EU Parliament chief.
European Parliament President Martin Schulz | Photo credit: Press Association
Martin Schulz has launched a thinly-veiled attack on Nigel Farage following the Ukip MEP's meeting last week with US President-Elect Donald Trump.
Farage, the interim leader of Ukip, was photographed with Trump and other Ukip members in a lift in Trump Tower just days after the election.
Speaking in Brussels on Wednesday, Schulz said it was notable that Farage was the “first overseas visitor” to meet Trump after his surprise victory in the country’s elections.
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European Parliament President Schulz said, “The fact that Trump chose to invite the man who is partly responsible, or should I say irresponsible, for Britain leaving the EU shows the dramatic times we are living in.”
“This is a man (Farage) who led a misleading campaign in the EU referendum and who is now apparently seen by Trump as his go between to the EU.”
He said the significance of this “should not be underestimated.”
“We have now have politicians telling us that ‘our countries must come first’ and “wanting to put up fences and walls around their countries.”
The German MEP said, “We have to fight this sort of thing.”
Schulz was speaking at the launch of a new book by UK Labour MEP Richard Corbett which details the history of the European Parliament.
Schulz, in an indirect reference to Front National MEP Marine Le Pen, a frontrunner in next year's French presidential elections, added, “We also have people running for public office who are advocating withdrawal from the EU.”
He added, “It is time to stand up and fight back.”
The MEP said the EU was under threat “like never before and this is from both from inside and outside.”
He said the significance of the UK exit from the EU should also not be underestimated,” saying its full impact “has still not been fully understood or perceived.”
He, added, “We should not underestimate what happened on 23 June in the referendum. The UK leaving the EU is a big, big drama for both the EU and Britain. It will definitely weaken the EU.”
EU leaders on Friday were digesting an offer from UK Prime Minister Theresa May that would allow about three million EU citizens living in the UK to stay after Brexit.
Negotiations on the UK’s departure from the EU will start on Monday, it has been confirmed.
Senior EU figures have reacted to the outcome of the UK general election, which has resulted in a hung parliament.
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