Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2017-03-02-Speech-2-068-000"

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"Mr President, let me start with some common ground. Clearly, if your project for European integration is to recover – mercifully, without the United Kingdom – it will require an enhanced level of social solidarity between the peoples of Europe. So it is not surprising that integrationists should set such store by top—down projects designed to tell the citizens of Europe’s nation states that their prime collective identity should be a continental one rather than a national one. When, for example, German citizens are next told that Greek citizens need another euro bailout, federalists will wish their first reaction to be, ‘Yes, we Europeans must stand together’ and not ‘Why should more German money go to Greece?’ But I am afraid that you might as well push water uphill as try to indoctrinate people about the collective loyalties that they feel. In no other continent on earth are so many distinct cultures, countries and languages held in such close proximity. That is what makes Europe the most interesting continent. People like Mr Verhofstadt think Europe is a continent of dwarves that cannot compete in the modern world and that we need to bring every aspect of public policy under the EU umbrella. But there is a better way forward and that is to be less doctrinaire and less rigid, to get behind NATO as our key defensive alliance, to allow nation states to return to national currencies that reflect their economic conditions, to trust that the peoples of a democratic Europe will be too sensible to return to the days of ultra-nationalism that caused the shedding of so much blood. But to try and force a European identity through top—down programmes such as Europe for Citizens is self—defeating. You are wasting your time and you are also wasting our money."@en1

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