Yesterday in Strasbourg at the final week’s plenary session of 2019, Frau Ursula von der Leyen thanked God for the departure of MEPs from the party which won the EU elections in the UK and which produced the largest number of MEPs of any party in the EU Parliament — the Brexit Party.
Final excerpts from a speech by President von der Leyen in the Plenary of the European Parliament, 18 Dec 2019
In a wide-ranging speech to the assembled MEPs from the EU28 countries, the new EU Commission President concluded by thanking “our very brave [British] Remain MEPs”, looking over to the area where the British minority parties (Cons, Lab, LibDems, Green) sit. She told them “I am sorry. We will miss you, we will miss you, thank you for your courage. Thank you for having been at our side.” Prolonged applause rang out from around the enormous hall, with the only protest coming from Brexit Party MEPs.
When the applause died down, Frau von der Leyen turned her attention to the Brexit Party’s MEPs.
“We will never miss those who scream and yell.” At this point, she pointed at the Brexit Party MEPs, with more applause from MEPs. “And now, thank God without you, we are constructing our future partnership to the UK.”
The reaction from British Leave MEPs
“The arrogance of an unelected EU bureaucrat is astonishing. Von der Leyen is not only insulting the biggest single party group in parliament, but she is also insulting 17.4 million British people and their right to have their vote respected. I thank von der Leyen and many of her colleagues for providing a constant reminder of why we voted to leave in the first place!”
- Henrik Overgaard Nielsen, MEP for North-West England
“The Brexit Party MEPs have repeatedly punctured the Zeppelin-sized self-importance of the European Parliament with gusto. Naturally, this has not made us popular with the self-important and deluded advocates of “ever more union” but we shall wear their discomfort as badges of honour and shall continue our sallies right up until 31st January. Merry Brexmas to all!”
- Brian Monteith, MEP for the North-East and Chief Whip of the Brexit Party
Frau von der Leyen was speaking at the EU Parliament, but she is not an elected MEP. She is a glorified civil servant. She was parachuted into her role at the last minute, one month late when the EU Council could not agree on any other candidates for the role.
She was the only candidate presented to the MEPs and yet despite this, she only succeeded in being approved by a majority of only nine votes out of 750. An election with only one candidate to vote for is more akin to Chinese, Russian, or North Korean ideas of democracy than to a Western organisation which proclaims to hold the values it does.
President von der Leyen chose to praise the “very brave Remain MEPs” whose views have just been roundly rejected in the UK General Election.
She then attacked the Leave MEPs who won the EU elections in May of this year, and who had more MEPs than any other single party in the EU28. The United Kingdom’s electorate is larger than that of 15 EU countries COMBINED.
Frau von der Leyen seems to have forgotten that she is no longer an elected German politician. As EU Commission President she is there to manage the EU affairs of the 28 EU countries, not to make party-political statements.
I suggest that Frau von der Leyen respects the UK as a full member of the EU, as well as respecting the majority verdict of the British people about the EU if she wishes UK taxpayers to continue paying her enormous salary.