FINANCIAL NEWS FAST

Cheers, Tears and Jeers for the U.K.’s Final Bow in Brussels

Cheers, Tears and Jeers for the U.K.’s Final Bow in Brussels(Bloomberg) — Squeezed between an argument over what to call its transport strategy and a debate on the coronavirus, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of Britain’s orderly departure from the European Union.It was an anti-climactic way to issue the U.K.’s last rites. But Britain’s goodbye has been gradual since voters chose that path in June 2016, and inevitable since December’s general election returned Prime Minister Boris Johnson with a large majority. The parliament in Brussels always had a veto over the Brexit deal, but it was never seriously going to block it.Instead, a two-hour debate provided the stage for the last meaningful contribution for the British in Brussels since they joined the club in 1973. Some of the U.K.’s representatives, directly elected by voters who increasingly fell out of love with Europe, hailed their moment of freedom, waved the Union Flag and cheered “hip, hip, hooray.” For others it was a time of deep regret. Their voices cracked as they described Britain’s departure as betrayal and tragedy.“The British are too big to bully,” bellowed Nigel Farage, one of the most prominent Brexit campaigners and the EU parliament’s most unruly member since 1999. But his final flourish after more than 20 years was cut off for breaking the parliament’s rules on flag-waving.But this was about the EU, too. For decades it thought membership was irreversible. Now it’s losing one of its biggest countries. To jeers from Farage’s party, Germans, Poles, Spaniards and others decried the decision and said they still dreamed that one day the Brits would be back. Several called for the EU to learn lessons as well. “It’s also our failure — we have to recognize that,” said former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhoftstadt.As the parliament displayed the result of the vote, read out by interpreters in 24 languages, many politicians linked arms and broke into “Auld Lang Syne,” the traditional Scottish folk song.“Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?” they sang. And then, with, according to some, indecent haste, moved onto other matters.Did we really have to end “at 6 p.m. sharp?” asked Belgian politician Philippe Lamberts. “It’s not every day a country leaves the European Union.”To contact the reporter on this story: Ian Wishart in Brussels at iwishart@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Richard Bravo, Robert JamesonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

(Bloomberg) — Squeezed between an argument over what to call its transport strategy and a debate on the coronavirus, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of Britain’s orderly departure from the European Union.It was an anti-climactic way to issue the U.K.’s last rites. But Britain’s goodbye has been gradual since voters chose that path in June 2016, and inevitable since December’s general election returned Prime Minister Boris Johnson with a large majority. The parliament in Brussels always had a veto over the Brexit deal, but it was never seriously going to block it.Instead, a two-hour debate provided the stage for the last meaningful contribution for the British in Brussels since they joined the club in 1973. Some of the U.K.’s representatives, directly elected by voters who increasingly fell out of love with Europe, hailed their moment of freedom, waved the Union Flag and cheered “hip, hip, hooray.” For others it was a time of deep regret. Their voices cracked as they described Britain’s departure as betrayal and tragedy.“The British are too big to bully,” bellowed Nigel Farage, one of the most prominent Brexit campaigners and the EU parliament’s most unruly member since 1999. But his final flourish after more than 20 years was cut off for breaking the parliament’s rules on flag-waving.But this was about the EU, too. For decades it thought membership was irreversible. Now it’s losing one of its biggest countries. To jeers from Farage’s party, Germans, Poles, Spaniards and others decried the decision and said they still dreamed that one day the Brits would be back. Several called for the EU to learn lessons as well. “It’s also our failure — we have to recognize that,” said former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhoftstadt.As the parliament displayed the result of the vote, read out by interpreters in 24 languages, many politicians linked arms and broke into “Auld Lang Syne,” the traditional Scottish folk song.“Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?” they sang. And then, with, according to some, indecent haste, moved onto other matters.Did we really have to end “at 6 p.m. sharp?” asked Belgian politician Philippe Lamberts. “It’s not every day a country leaves the European Union.”To contact the reporter on this story: Ian Wishart in Brussels at iwishart@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Richard Bravo, Robert JamesonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
On Key

Related Posts

Fortune Org is an international news provider focusing on trusted financial, political, and world news for professionals and organizations. Our editor in chief Brian Edwards runs our tight-knit team of investigative journalists and finance researchers from the UK and Australia that contribute to curated news content, op-eds, and investigative pieces.

Financial News Fast

Copyright © 2020 Fortune Org.