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 Full text 
Wednesday, 27 March 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2020 – Section I – European Parliament (debate)

  Jonathan Arnott (EFDD). – Madam President, this debate should be absolutely none of my beeswax because of Brexit, but sadly it is. It is likely, one way or the other, that the UK will end up contributing to a budget for the European Parliament alone of over EUR 2 billion.

It’s great to see paragraph 25 calling for the end of the travelling circus between Brussels and Strasbourg, but, like the film ‘Groundhog Day’, this Parliament votes to end the travelling circus in different reports from different committees, month in, month out, year in, year out. Time and time again, it doesn’t get the change enacted because this place doesn’t actually have the power to decide where it sits. That’s the difference between this place and, say, the House of Representatives, which was mentioned earlier in this debate.

At least this report does question the latest EU expansionism. It questions suggestions for bigger offices in Indonesia, Ethiopia and New York, which, last time I consulted a map, weren’t in Europe. But what I can’t support in this report is millions more being spent on propaganda by setting up Europe experience centres and mobile installations across Europe and hiring an army of 50 new press officers and media managers. I can’t support even more money being spent refurbishing MEP’s offices, which, last time I checked, were perfectly serviceable.

Then we come to Brexit, and this report contemplates various options. Why wouldn’t it? Even as I’m speaking here, politicians in Westminster are still unable to decide whether or not they’re going to implement the referendum result. British MEPs were elected on a Brexit mandate in 2014, the general election in 2015 mandated a referendum, and the 2016 referendum mandated leave. Then 85% of votes at the general election in 2017 went to parties pledging leave. I’m going to blame the European Union for a lot of things, but I’ll tell you what, I’m not going to blame the European Union for politicians in Westminster ignoring the mandates and being unable to decide what to do. That much is certainly their fault, not yours.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 162(8))

Last updated: 28 June 2019Legal notice