Guy Verhofstadt rants at Nigel Farage in 2012 EU speech
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The Belgian politician, who has been an MEP for the past 12 years, is extremely vocal on Twitter over all things surrounding the European Union. But Mr Verhofstadt has sparked a furious backlash from EU opponents after he spoke out in favour of the bloc. He was reacting to research posted on Twitter from an account named ‘European Moments’
It said it has conducted a “recent polling wave” with the group eupinions – which “collect, analyse and comment on what the European public thinks about current political issues and megatrends” – and political writer and commentator Timothy Garton Ash.
This showed data from France, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Poland.
The research asked: “Do you identify as European?” This was most prevalent in Poland and Spain, but less so in France among all the nations featured.
The post from European Moments, which accompanied a bar chart of the findings, read: “Our recent polling wave with @eupinions and @fromTGA revealed interesting cross-national differences in attitudes toward the #EU.
“In #France, respondents were less likely than average to say they identified as European.”
Responding to these findings, Mr Verhofstadt tweeted: “People cherish their European identity as much as they celebrate their more tangible benefits, rights & freedoms.
“EU is culture, society, values…”
But the outspoken Belgian MEP soon sparked a furious backlash from EU opponents.
One wrote: “The EU is a bunch of unchosen people we don’t know.
“We never had any choice Guy. You might think it is all great, but for normal working people, the EU is just a lie.”
A second Twitter user raged: “What culture does the EU have?”
Another person replied: “There is a huge difference between being European and belonging to the EU.
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“You can be European and feel that way.
“The EU (used to be economic, now it wants to manage and control all aspects of our lives) is not Europe.
“Immense difference, which you conveniently forget.
A fourth Twitter user added: Guy, I cherish my English, and on a wider perspective my European identity.
“But I also think the EU is a project forced onto people, a project that has had its day.
“There is an awakening.”
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