Farage's Belgium jibe met with World Cup warning for England
Nigel Farage Farage's Belgium jibe met with World Cup warning for England
Former PM Guy Verhofstadt hits back after ex-Ukip leader says Belgium is not a nation
Politics and sport is rarely a comfortable mix. And that was the case for Nigel Farage after he belittled Belgiumâs claim to be a nation state during a debate with the countryâs prime minister, Charles Michel, in the European parliament.
Responding to a speech by Michel championing the European project, the former Ukip leader told MEPs: âBelgium is not a nation, itâs an artificial creation. The truth is there are two parts of Belgium, they speak different languages, they dislike each other intensely, thereâs no national TV station, thereâs no national newspaper â" Belgium is not a nation.â
In response, Michel told MEPs: âBritain took his advice, and look how well that is going.â
Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliamentâs Brexit coordinator and a former Belgian prime minister, then came to Michelâs aid after the debate in Brussels, writing on Twitter: âToday, Nigel Farage said Belgium is not a real country. Heâll see how real Belgium is when we play England in the World Cup! But perhaps heâs still exploring German citizenship and will be rooting for âdie Mannschaftâ [the German national team].â
Farage, whose estranged wife is German, recently disclosed that two of his four children have German passports.
Belgium are third in the Fifa world rankings; England are 13th. The teams are in the same qualifying group in this summerâs tournament in Russia and will play each other on 28 June.
In August 2016, Farage was spotted at the German embassy in London. When BuzzFeed called to ask what he was doing there, Farage said ânone of your businessâ and hung up the phone.
At the end of the debate in the parliament, Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, urged Michel to allow British officials working for the EU to stay in Belgium after Brexit.
âBrussels is a warm, welcoming environment and weâre very happy to be here,â Juncker said. âIâd also like the Belgian authorities to apply the same generosity when it comes to extending Belgian citizenship to the British officials here in Brussels â" they deserve it.â
Michel was guarded in his reply, acknowledging there was âcontradictory jurisprudenceâ on the subject in Belgium, but saying his government was considering it.Topics
- Nigel Farage
- Belgium (World n ews)
- World Cup 2018
- Belgium (Football)
- World Cup
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