Nigel Farage, on behalf of the EFDD Group.–
Mr President, four years ago I stood here and said that bombing Libya would be a huge mistake, but of course the UK Parliament and this Parliament were desperate. There was a clamour to go to war. So now we have a failed state of Libya, which is now a conduit being used for criminal trafficking gangs trying to bring people to Europe.
We are guilty for this crisis, we are directly guilty for the drownings that are going on, and we are hypocrites in this place when we talk about poverty in Africa, when we pursue a common agricultural policy that puts barriers up to them selling us their agricultural produce, where we have a fisheries policy that rapes and pillages their seas and has caused environmental destruction, and we just assuage our consciences by giving away a bit of foreign aid. I am not blind to the human suffering that we have caused in many of these countries. I would call on this Parliament, this Commission to end the barriers to trade, to stop the fisheries policy, to ask the United Nations to get involved and to try and help.
But the real question we face is: what are we to do? Are we to go down the Australian system in dealing with this crisis (and indeed the Australian Premier, Tony Abbott, has offered us his advice and help). Australia faced this and Australia not only have stopped the boats from coming, they have stopped people from drowning. But no, we are not interested in what the Australians have done; we have decided that we can deal with this on our own. So we decided that people can come and that people will not be sent back.
Now I suspect that it would be a hell of a shock to many European citizens, including the British, to understand that we have already agreed a common European asylum system, and what today is about and today’s resolution is the direct implementation of it. The problem, ladies and gentlemen, is this: the definitions for who qualifies for asylum are so wide, they include not just people coming from war, not just people coming from failed states; Mr Juncker, this morning, seemed to suggest that perhaps he would even include people who were fleeing poverty. I am sorry, we simply cannot accept countless millions. Already in countries like mine, 77% of the population say we cannot take immigration at current levels.
But there is a real and genuine threat. When ISIS say they want to flood our continent with half a million Islamic extremists, they mean it, and there is nothing in this document that will stop those people from coming. Indeed, I fear we face a direct threat to our civilisation if we allow large numbers of people from that war-torn region into Europe. It is ironic that nine days before a British general election, Mr Cameron and Mr Miliband are not engaged in this debate, and in fact the UK can do nothing. We are impotent; we have surrendered our ability to get involved. I promise my party will stand up to this impending disaster for all concerned.
(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 162(8))