British Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent veto of changes to the E.U. treaty has generated some seriously bad blood among E.U. politicans, one of whom – former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt – has gone so far as to boycott the English language.
Rather than address the Strasbourg-based European Parliament in English, as he normally would have done, Verhofstadt chose instead Tuesday to stick with his native Flemish. “Today, I shall be speaking my mother tongue. English is out of style,” said Verhofstadt, who heads the Parliament’s Liberal faction.
Verhofstadt is not the only E.U. politician still fuming over Cameron’s veto. Martin Schulz, leader of the Social Democrats in the European Parliament, accused the British prime minister of using the veto to ensure there would be no further regulation of “London City speculators.”
“Fortunately, other leaders didn’t let themselves be blackmailed like that,” Schulz said. He also expressed agreement with the conservative European People’s Party leader, Joseph Daul, that the issue of the British rebate – a rebate on the UK contribution to the E.U. budget – should be reviewed.
“Why should we accommodate them?” Daul, a Frenchman, asked. The rebate was hammered out in 1984 by then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Others, however, remain cautiously optimistic that Britain’s break from Europe will only be temporary. The UK will “come back to the table to save face,” said Luxembourg’s Viviane Reding, a European Commission vice-president. “The British need us more than we need the British.”
Read the full story in German by Florian Eder
Photo - Europaportalen.se
*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations