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 Full text 
Wednesday, 9 October 2019 - Brussels Provisional edition

Preparation of the European Council meeting of 17 and 18 October 2019 (debate)

  Philippe Lamberts, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Mr President, dear colleagues, so goes the story: a good-willed British Prime Minister is honestly seeking a balanced solution to the Brexit conundrum. But he is confronted with a hostile and antagonistic, inflexible European Union, conspiring with traitors back home, concentrated in the British Parliament and the judiciary, whose sole aim would be to frustrate the will of the people and surrender to the enemy. This is the story that Prime Minister Johnson wants to tell.

The reality is that Prime Minister Johnson does not want a deal. Listen, if we were to sign the British proposals, we would commit – forever – to keeping a 500 km stretch of EU external border, with no controls – forever – without any firm guarantee that goods crossing that border would meet EU regulatory standards – notably, safety and security standards – and with no guarantee that customs tariffs would be paid. That is the kind of blank cheque that Prime Minister Johnson wants us to sign. No jurisdiction in the world would ever accept this, especially from a neighbour whose stated intention, as has been repeatedly said, is to undercut the European Union’s social and environmental taxation standards. No one would accept this.

But you understand: these proposals are not there to be accepted. They are meant to lead the country to a no—deal Brexit for which the EU27 could be blamed. It’s not hard to read into Prime Minister Johnson’s game. And it now depends on all responsible women and men within the British Parliament to prevent this from happening and to muster their collective strength to put the interests of the country front and centre.

Now, dear friends, I will just say one thing. We are all Members of Parliament here and we are proud of this. I listened to Prime Minister Johnson’s speech at the Tory Party Conference the other day. A few days after having illegally attempted to close down his Parliament, that Prime Minister was openly mocking, humiliating and deriding Parliament – the Parliament from which his own legitimacy derives. Dear friends, when chiefs of the executive – in any country – trample like this on parliaments, what is at stake is democracy.

Last updated: 20 November 2019Legal notice