BY NICK PEARCE
So Guy Verhofstadt has said that support for the European Union has increased since Brexit because EU citizens are not “as stupid as the Brits”. This seems a tad peculiar for a man whose face unfortunately stands out in a crowd, who holidays in Devon. Even odder considering he intends to be in Britain on Friday to knock on doors with Liberal Democrat MEP candidates – Verhofstadt is leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group in the European parliament, in which the Lib Dems sit. Since Lefties seem to applaud milkshake tossing but consider egg-throwing to be a jailable offence these days, it would seem unfortunate if no one bought this outspoken knave a milkshake and cooled him down while he pounds the streets? Hopefully, British generosity shall oblige.
Speaking in Florence during a debate with fellow Commission candidates, the Belgian said: “The problem today is the following – the European Union is under threat. Not the European project – since Brexit, public opinion in Europe is more pro-European Union than before Brexit. What that says is we are not as stupid as the Brits to go out. But at the same time, we have a problem with the union that doesn’t fulfil, in the eyes of the citizens, their dreams and the European dream and that will be the key issue in the coming five years.”
Verhofstadt continued: “I hope there is a deal because I personally think that the decision of the European Council to extend was not the most intelligent one they have taken. By doing that they have been importing the mess in British politics into the European elections. I hope for a miracle. I never had trust in miracles but this time, I really hope for a miracle. A miracle that in the coming days, next week, this deal is done between the two parties and that we can end this fight.”
What Verhofstadt doesn’t get is that he is hardening the stance of Brexiteers every time he opens his toothy mouth. He has become synonymous with the federal European project and the European army over recent years – when Brexiteers think of Europe, they think of their taxes being robbed, Juncker swaying at conferences after too much champagne and Verhofstadt’s ugly mug insulting Britain – Tusk’s insults pale into insignificance alongside Verhofstadt’s.
Verhofstadt is a typical say-one-thing-do-another socialist:
The former Belgian prime minister sat on Exmar Group’s board of directors between 2010 and 2016. Its annual reports show he received €60,000 per year. Interestingly, the company’s board of directors also included Howard Gutman, former U.S. President Barack Obama’s ambassador to Belgium. Exmar — a Belgian shipping firm —used an offshore company mentioned in the Paradise Papers leaked documents about circumventing tax rules through offshore investments.
Furthermore, Verhofstadt likes to exaggerate to get press coverage: he caused a stir after accusing Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage of being a “fifth columnist” fan of Vladimir Putin.
Still it’s hypocrisy that is Verhofstadt’s forte: he has emphatically backed Theresa May’s Brexit deal – which the Lib Dems are against – and opposed the extension of Article 50 which allowed the UK to take part in the elections in the first place. The Lib Dems are desperate to associate themselves with any Remoan elements – now Gina Miller has disappeared, they are left with mere Verhofstadt.