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01/07/2016

Health Commissioner's thoughts on the Brexit

Yesterday, with my fellow EU Commissioners, I attended the extraordinary session in the European Parliament. Some photos – particularly that of my right hand - and videos have spread on social media. You will have seen me grimacing and trying to hide my despair while Nigel Farage spoke.

Source: BLOG POST by Vytenis Andriukaitis

I have enjoyed reading the many comments and can confirm that I do indeed appreciate British humour. But as tweets were exchanged, I felt it was important to share some more serious thoughts on how I felt yesterday in the Parliament.

I was and still am fully with all the British people. I am with all those who voted against financial speculation uncovered in the 'Panama papers' and with those who voted against unemployment and decreasing standards of living. However, sadly, many votes will have been influenced by the lies spread by some representatives of the Leave campaign.

I am also with those who voted to remain in the EU, who want to create a better future for their families, and who believe that it is possible together, united in diversity, to fight against corporate greed and fraud perpetrated by financial transnational capitalism.

Toxic untruths spread by Mr Farage and others, such as claims that money Britain contributes to the EU budget would be used for investments in healthcare, have now been revealed as lies.

In my heart, two symbols of this referendum remain – both of them are very different. One is the assassination of Labour MP Jo Cox and the other is of Jonathan Hill.

Jo Cox was killed because of people instigating hate, chauvinism and phobias. These are brutal forces infecting our democracies, destroying sentiment of security and values that we hold so dearly in Europe.

Lord Hill was decisive and stepped down. This is an example of moral self-determination, taking responsibility and embracing the consequences. This is in stark contrast to the actions of some others who personify political hypocrisy.

Britain is changing. Young people in Scotland, Northern Ireland or London want to see a different future.

The EU is changing as well. For me its future lies in social justice and security. This is the way forward. And only together, with the EU Member States, with the European Parliament, and with a decisive European Council - avoiding the cacophony and constant bashing of Brussels - can we achieve this together.

Photo: © European Union , 2014 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Jennifer Jacquemart