By Nigel Farage
The war of words with Brussels shows no sign of abating. Aggressive Downing Street briefings following Boris Johnson’s phone call with Angela Merkel on Tuesday morning have led to rebukes from Donald Tusk and to Jean-Claude Juncker accusing the UK of committing the ‘original sin’. To what extent Merkel really did demand the annexation of Northern Ireland is unclear. What this week’s events have proved is that keeping Britain in the customs union was always the EU’s main priority.
The proposals put forward by Boris Johnson that have led Britain to this point were an improvement on the previous surrender treaty, but they were never going to be accepted in full by the EU. For one thing, the next few years would have relied entirely on the good faith of Brussels – something that has been in short supply since 2016.
I understand why Johnson set off on this rocky road. Keeping his split party together and possibly gaining a majority in parliament are undeniably important. But, frankly, I am pleased that this latest proposed deal is now all but dead. In fact, I’m feeling more optimistic about Brexit than I have for a long time. The choice is looking clearer. Either we leave the bloc, or we remain in it.
This week, something else caught my attention. The incoming EU foreign policy boss at the EU Commission, Josep Borrell, said that the EU army needed to be expanded from 35,000 troops to 60,000 troops and must be “more operational”. In 2014, I had a TV debate with Nick Clegg in which I stated that I didn’t want the UK to be part of an EU army or an expansionist EU foreign policy. Clegg tried to ridicule this, calling my words “a dangerous fantasy that is simply not true”.
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