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.

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.

542 Comments

Emma Clarke's picture

It's not just London!

My city - Manchester - and my district - Trafford - voted strongly to Remain. I'm devastated. I'm angry. I feel utterly, completely helpless.

Angelos Karageorgiou's picture

Fear of Integration

The fact is that Europe needs to integrate more, not less. The divisive lines are largely artificial and peddled by fear mongering populist politicians.

We MUST include in all University curricula a mandatory Year Abroad. That will help people stop fearing what they know. They will see that Greeks are not lazy, Germans are not Nazis, French are not haughty etc. etc.

Give it a thought.

Vanessa Young's picture

Disgusting comment

Utterly despicable that you try and link Jo Cox murder to the LEAVE campaign.

It was not "people" who killed her. It was ONE individual with mental health problems. It had nothing to do with this issue. Perhaps if our Health Service had more money spent on it, then the individual would have received the support and care he needed to help him regain his mental health and this terrible event would never have happened ... and people like you would not have had the chance to try and use it as a side-show to distract from your real agenda.

Get YOUR facts right please. You are no better than than the people you are critictising and trying to discredit.

Josh South's picture

Hi Vytenis,

Hi Vytenis,

Thank you for the above blog, I'm glad to hear that you don't think Nigel Farage reflects the opinion and consensus of a large majority of the United Kingdom.

I am one of those young people in Britain who wanted a different future and I am sad to see that a large portion of the people in my country didn't feel the same. I would like to clarify however that there are also large numbers of young people in the UK outside Scotland, Northern Ireland and London that loved being part of the EU. I was one of them and though we now find ourselves on a different path away from everything great about the EU, I hope we can still work together with you and everyone else in Europe to build a better future.

I hope you continue to keep up the great work you're doing at the EC and I hope to hear our government are making the right steps to promoting continued union with everyone in our great continent.

Thanks for your time,

Josh South, 24, Dorset, South West England.

Emma Norling's picture

It's more than just London, NI and Scotland

Young people (and many not-so-young people like me) all over the UK want to see a different future, not just those in areas where a majority overall voted to leave. Please don't think it is just isolated pockets of the UK where this is true. The age demographics of certain areas may have indeed skewed the results in some places. An overall majority of < 4% is hardly a convincing argument that we should leave the EU, particularly since many may have been swayed by what were revealed as outright lies already.

Richard Bentley's picture

Farage, Britain and the rigged 'advisory' referendum

I am a European by head, heart and belief. I come from a mongrel nation (Britain) where everyone (including Farage) can link back to a time when our ancestors (some closer than we would like) fled persecution and famine. Farage like my wife is of Huguenot origin, I am of Russian / Irish descent, my grandparents fleeing persecution.

I have worked in the law, in order to serve the people all my working life. I counted many nationalities as friends and colleagues. My closest family friend a Jew, fled Austria and survived the holocaust, his father was a famous Austrian Sculptor, a WW1 war artist who, on fleeing the UK was housed by a Catholic Monastery.

We have seen our politicians totally fabricate 'evidence' to create xenophobia on such a scale across our country, causing the right wing to emerge from the cracks and dark places. They have used posters reminiscent of 30's Germany, cited books written by Nazi's to discredit experts, lied about funding, lied about migration, lied, lied and lied. With one sole intent, as Farage rightly stated, to 'win' the referendum for leave. There is no win, it is not a game, but we are all losers. In an 'advisory' referendum, one without a quadruple lock (we are four nations), without an overwhelming majority required (75%) in constitutional matters, the country is, again being sold down the river as if a formal legal process has been undertaken - it hasn't.

I believe from a back story perspective the right wing of our current government is seeking to remove workers rights. To do that they have to revoke access to ECHR and the Human Rights Act, impossible in the EU and rightly so.

As the rabble roused masses, fuelled by hate and lies voted in protest in belief it wouldn't happen, it actually did, but not by much. Many keep stating they made a mistake, it was not a vote about the EU it was a vote about migration, about the NHS about not liking the Prime Minister.

We feel robbed, and rightly so. We feel deceived, and rightly so, we feel we will be ostracised, a genuine fear. We feel the nation has been manipulated and the campaign was neither honest nor democratic.

If I could obtain an EU passport, I would in a heartbeat. If I could cause a general election where honest must prevail, I would do it willingly. If we have to accept Schengen to remain, then we should do it. But we should not act on an advisory poll that has no political or binding legal value.

Thank you for reading

Rainy weather's picture

From 16,141,241 people in the UK...

Thank you.

Kevin Williams's picture

A response to Thoughts from #WeAreSeat123

Hello, as a British born citizen I am absolutely horrified at the thought of leaving the EU. The British media are saying how the nation 'clearly chose' to leave but in reality it was marginal- the views of just over half of the voters, 51.9%, will now dominate and directly affect and potentially ruin the prospects of the other 48.1%.

"This is democracy" say the politicians, who will almost certainly remain financially unaffected by the economic outcome, or at the worst some may have to sell some of their stocks and shares or one of their multiple homes.

As a civil service state worker in administration for scientific research, there is a real risk of considerable funding cuts in the future and there were already deep cuts due to the ongoing economic stasis. This could lead to a loss of vital neurodegenerative diseases research and of course jobs and 'brain drain'. Many of my colleagues and friends are from continental Europe and some have already experienced some racist behaviour directed towards them.

In West London a Polish Centre was daubed in racist graffiti, on an LBC radio station call-in, an elderly German lady had dog excrement thrown onto the front of her house and is now afraid to leave her home. Racist attacks and behaviour has increased nearly threefold.

Any sane, rational human being knows that such acts are criminal and reprehensible. I know that the best future for Britain is in Europe and London and many other UK cities definitely agree. Perhaps there is a way Britain can succeed but the future looks bleak from where I stand as an ordinary citizen.

Thanks and kind regards

Kevin Patrick Williams

Maria Marcon's picture

Thoughts 29th June

Thank you.
I enjoyed watching your reaction and I apologise that empty rhetoric and insult had to be endured by you all.

I hope you will treat us kindly as we move to a new era. I will never give up hope and have joined forces with those working to return us to European unity.

Yours a British born European.

Maria

Peter Morris's picture

Thank you

The many reasonable people of the UK thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We know what benefit the EU and the Commission has brought us and our families. We want desperately to remain in the family we have grown up with and loved.
We now feel like people will believe we are related to the disgusting relative who has thrown up on the wedding cake. We are humiliated and yet defiant. It was #notmyvote

Peter Coleman's picture

Whilst you hid your face

Mr Andriukaitis,
Thank you for these thoughts. I and many many others in Britain shared your moment of despair as a British politician uttered such a contemptible speech to the EU. This is not the opinion of the educated and thinking British people. Many of us voted Remain. Perhaps much is wrong with the EU. But together we share great aspirations, a common humanity, a European identity. So much better to be together than separate. I can only hope that one day, common sense will prevail in my country and we can rejoin.
Best wishes,
Peter Coleman (frustrated European).

David Bell's picture

I could say some very rude

I could say some very rude things about Nigel Farage. It's possible that some of the elites behind the Leave Campaign, and the nature of the press and media coverage was pretty frightening, were trying to make us an offer we couldn't refuse.

It looks as though they chose the wrong end of the horse, several times over. It isn't just Nigel Farage.

Despite what some have said, this isn't going to play quickly. It looks very likely that both the major political parties in the UK will have to find new leaders, and there are complications in the Article 50 expectation of meeting "constitutional requirements". Different people will say different things about just what those are.

And there are some frightening ideas floating around. If the media were biased, some say, shouldn't there be an official body to stop them telling lies? There are a myriad of historical examples of such things, and they never seem to go well. Yet the super-rich who control so much of the media support Farage and his cronies in their lies.

Maybe we get what we deserve.

The people who got us into this mess never seem to get what they deserve.

Annie Lawler's picture

Your article on Brexit

How can you help us/can we help outselves?

I'd be very grateful for your thoughts

David's picture

...and Gibraltar

The people of Gibraltar also voted very strongly in favour of remaining and of working together in friendship & cooperation with mutual respect for each other.
In the same way people in Scoltand feel a Scottish, British & also European sense of identity and commonality of values, the people of Gibralrar clearly expressed they have a strong Gibraltarian, British and also European sense of identity.
Please don't forget us either.

George Ferzoco's picture

Thank you

Your civility, open-mindedness and good nature are wonderful to behold; as a UK resident I applaud you.

Roy Manterfield's picture

Thank you

Well said; here's to a positive, united, inclusive and secure future for all the people and countries of Europe

Maureen Hawkridge's picture

UK leaving EU

Thank you for your thoughts. I agree with everything you have said. I believe that the Leave campaign amounted to fraud, and that many people were not able to make an informed decision. I do not want to leave the EU.

Gordon U's picture

Brexit

Thank you for your support.

I am one of the 62% of Scots who voted enthusiastically to Remain in the EU. Many of us feel more affinity with our friends in the Netherlands, Lithuania, Poland and Italy than some of those in England and Wales. Many of my English friends are now saying that they don't recognise their country any more. The recent increase in physical and emotional attacks on non-British residents and guests is very, very alarming. The Leave campaign has a lot to answer for.

We Scots hope that our continental cousins will help us maintain social, cultural and economic ties with the EU that are as robust and intimate as possible.

Thank you again.

Jim's picture

Wonder who benefits from less

Wonder who benefits from less cooperation between EU nations - the money players and fraudsters. This is a power game and UK electorate merely I'll informed pawns.

Craig Robb's picture

Thanks

Do you want to be prime minister? I think I might vote for you.

henry bardsley's picture

thank you

Thank you for your position, and your work at the commission.

You need to know that;
- many British Citizens were not able to vote in the referendum,
- the more europe advances the fewer people will be able to vote in national elections,
- the European Parliament needs a single popular TV channel accessible to all, giving visibility to the MEP and personalities that media entice us to relate to.
- there are no European members of parliament to represent itinerant européens ,
- the UK parliament needs to vote down the referendum, which is invalid.

Richard Lynn, Northern Ireland Loyal British Citizen's picture

Brexit

It is terrible that young people in Britain have their future decided by the old, grumpy, poorly educated and the misled. The UK population has for decades been fed untruths from the gutter press and from Little England and DUP politicians. The only influence UK has is from being a key player in the EU. The British government should ignore the vote, wait for the old to die and let the younger people live their lives and experience all the positives of being European.

Royston Faulkner's picture

Britex

We in the UK must all respect the democratic rule & accept the vote we are not all racists & bigots but decsnt working people. For my self I am glad to be leaving the eu, but would thank the eu for the standard of living afforded to me & my family under their tenureship! I hope we can leave the eu on good terms & remain friends with our eu friends.But never forget Britain will fight to the last for what we believe in do not underestimate our resolve. Long live the uk

Terry P's picture

Response.

Thank you. :) From a rational Brit who didn't just face palm at the hideous Mr Farage but who seriously wanted the earth to open up and either swallow myself or better yet him whole.

Bill Campbell's picture

Nigel Farage's speech

Thank You Mr Andriukaitis,
your clarity and humanity are shared by many in London and the UK. I for one am deeply ashamed of my country and apologise to the people of the EU, all member states, large and small. Your gesture in the European Parliament was an entirely appropriate response to this fascist idiot Farage...Unfortunately, he and his ideology won't go away but he has MOTIVATED people like me who will now be far more socially and politically engaged. In a counter-intuitive way, he may have just done all the intelligent, tolerant, and positive people a favour by helping to focus our hearts and minds. Thanks for your support.

Mat Cornwall, UK's picture

Heartwarming

My fear has been that people in Europe would think that Nigel Farage represents the views of people here in the UK. It's heartwarming to find that you don't!

Malcolm Rowe's picture

BREXIT

Dear Mr Andriukaitis,

Thank you for expressing the utter bizarre incredulity of being confronted by a Punch and Judy character made flesh. While listening with you to the tirade I could not help but recall the record of Mr Farage his attendance his expenses claims and his tax arrangements. I am deeply sorry that 30 years of the right wing press and a insular political class who have sort to blame the woes of the UK on Europe rather than our class system, austerity, thatcherism, and globalisation. These are going to be dangerous times.

Robert J. Sutherland's picture

Your blog posting of 29.June

Bless you sir,

Your thoughts echo mine. Here in Scotland the vast number of people recognise the valuable contribution that the EU has made to our lives, despite all its manifest faults. Many others have been misled by the insidious propaganda of the xenophobic English press over many years, culminating in the scapegoating, artificial hysteria and gross untruths of the Leave campaign.

Here in Scotland we do not wish to be robbed of our birthright of European citizenship. Please, I ask you and all your well-disposed colleagues, stand with us and demonstatrate to the whole world what European unity really means!

Juliette Shaw's picture

Farage is vile.

Can I please please point out that the disgusting display of insults and ignorance on show yesterday from Farage is not the Britain I know. So many of us are in genuine despair here about what has happened and is about to. So many of us find him utterly utterly despicable. We must find a way back from this.

Nicole Spencer's picture

British born EU citizen

Hello

48% of us did not want to leave the EU and many those fall outside of London, Scotland and NI, as do I. We feel powerless and at the mercy of the lying right wing dominated propaganda machine, the British Media, that poisons the minds of the poorly educated and underprivileged in our society. There is currently a massive coup attempt, fully endorsed and supported by the media, to oust the democratically elected leader of the Labour Party, (a social democratic party) by it's party members. If this is successful, then the only real hope for representation and true democracy in the UK will have been destroyed and we will be at the hands of the hate inciting right ring extremists that ran the leave campaign.

I thank you for the empathetic way you speak of the British people. Nigel Farage is a dangerous disgrace.

Kindest regards
Nicole Spencer

richard rathbone's picture

Your fine blog

I and millions of others will be comforted by your understanding that Farage is NOT representative of the British people and that the referendum result is the tragic outcome of the domination of the British press by unscrupulous media owners in collaboration with toxic, lying politicians. Sadly too many British believed the lies and now we will all pay for it. But muillions of us remain European at heart.

Zoe's picture

Sorry

Vytenis, I am sure I speak for many British people when I say how embarassed I am by Farage's shameful display in the Parliament yesterday. I apologise that you and fellow MEPs were insulted in such a way.

One small chink of light (for you, if not for the people of the United Kingdom) is that post Brexit we will no longer be able to export our prize bigots to the European Parliament to hector and belittle.

David Rose's picture

Apology

I voted remain and I am proud to say that I voted remain. It saddens me deeply to think that we lost the referendum at all, and then by such a small margin.

There were certainly some in the leave camp that did so for well considered reasons, but unfortunately the rhetoric and bile of certain key players was without doubt key to influencing many voters.

Please don't think we as a nation agree with what they said. It was truly shameful.

JPG's picture

Brexit

Your gesture at Farage's comments pretty much reflect how I feel. 48% of us (who voted) feel betrayed, we have had our future (and our children's) stolen from us by lies, obfuscation and political opportunism.

What was once a bright and positive future has been replaced with an increasingly bleak future as the UK has taken a lurch to the (far) right.

As I see it, there are now about 16,000,000 Europeans cast adrift in our ever shrinking island.

Tim Waite 's picture

How

How do we get out of this nightmare without violence. I fervently wish to remain in the EU and am angry that the voters were duped. Angry that 16 & 17 year old and all EU citizens who have lived & worked here for years, were excluded from the vote. My city voted to remain as did London. What is to be done? HELP

Angela's picture

Well said!

I totally agree with you. I'm one of the many pro-EU Brits and Farage et al are an embarrassment to our country.

Angela's picture

Well said!

I totally agree with you. I'm one of the many pro-EU Brits and Farage et al are an embarrassment to our country.

Frank Witte's picture

Thank you for your words

Dear Vytenis,
(this is my Dutch informal habit, no offense intended!) From London I want to thank you for these words. We live in difficult time where lies are seen as facts by some, and facts are twisted into lies. We need to hold together because there are to many peopel fo good faith in Europe to abandon hope to the few who seek to divide and profit. I hope from this crisis the values you speak of will shine forth ever so bright. It is a light we all dearly need in Europe. It is a light that, when shone on the justified grievances of most who voted to leave, will show that the path towards healing is one we can take together and inside of Europe.
Thank you!
Frank Witte

Steven Kilcline's picture

Farage

Farage doesn't represent the majority of views and opinions in the UK - most people face-palmed as we watch him look like a top-class idiot during this Commission meeting yesterday. He is a racist liar and doesn't deserve to be allowed to have a pedestal to spout his lies, to the those stupid enough to believe them, then vote "leave".

Michael Bannerman's picture

Agree

I would hate to think that the drastic result of the Brexit Referendum was based upon lies and ignorance. It seems that no one had any real idea of what was going on. People say the vote was due to dislike for transnational capitalist greed. Other people disliked the "faceless Brussels bureaucrats making rules without democratic input".

I am with you. I think the way to address the issues that led to Brexit are to work within the EU, not outside of it.

Adam's picture

Young people

I applaud and respect your post here, but disagree with one of the points you have made.

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

Young people across the United Kingdom wished to remain in the European Union. We have grown up as both British and European citizens and have seen and felt the positive influence the European Union has had in our and other countries.

I am sorry that so many of my fellow citizens has been so shortsighted and decided to place the blame of so many things on the EU that is does not deserve.

I can only hope that in the weeks and months to come we can somehow reverse this destructive decision, or perhaps find some alternative to maintain our current relationship with the European Union.

Best Regards,

Adam

Ben Drury's picture

Thank You

Thank you for standing with us despite the outcome. Thank you for not believing all Britons are like Mr Farage! A lot of us are still for Europe and want to continue standing besides our European neighbours despite the political changes. Thank you for giving us hope that there are those in Europe who feel the same!

(And please ignore Mr Farage, he certainly doesn't speak for the majority of Britons, even those who voted leave!)

Norma's picture

Newcastle upon Tyne

It warmed my heart to read your blog thanks to @Guardian. Most of us are deeply embarrassed at Mr Farage's outrageous and unhelpful ramblings. In Newcastle we also voted remain and I just wanted you to appreciate that there are many people here that share your views and are deeply troubled by this outcome. I have a deep affection for Lithuania and trust that you will focus on the many beautiful people and positive aspects. Hopefully we can work together to come to a socially just and mutually acceptable way forward. With heartfelt and very best wishes

John Pickup's picture

Thanks for your note.

Britain has been let down very badly by its politicians and an awful, mendacious Brexit campaign. Many of us are only now becoming aware of the long standing behaviour of Mr Farage and his UKIP team, and it is sad and embarrassing.

I don't know what happens next, and the politicians who lead the UK here don't know either. Is this how leadership is supposed to work?

Those of us who voted against this were already aware that the promises of the Leave campaign were nonsense, but many Leave voters have yet to realise. I hope the politicians responsible can be held to account when they do.

Johnson is an opportunist who acted for personal gain. Gove is a dangerous fool, a man who once argued in The Times for the return of the death penalty, on the basis that it would somehow encourage courts to be more fair and scrupulous. Farage I feel a little sorry for, a fantasist who is lost in the modern world, and who little realises how awful he sounds to the rest of us.

There are difficult times ahead. Nevertheless, I feel better having read your note. It is a tragic failing of British politics that Farage has been a voice for the UK in the EU for 17 years, but he spoke for very few of us. We can do better than the Europe Farage wants, and I very much hope we will.

Sincerely,

John, London

Michael Keller's picture

thanks

Thank you for this post, Mr Andriukaitis.

You speak with respect, intelligence, and dignity.

Qualities that Mr Farage and his ilk would do well to emulate.

With every good wish,

Michael Keller
Newcastle upon Tyne

Richard Hall's picture

Who will be first?

Forgiveness is the greatest gift we have, and yet the hardest to give. Who will be first to forgive?
Right now no one is "winning" - not the "ins", not the "outs" and neither the rest of Europe.
The referendum (with the result only a recommendation) revealed a polarized society, and the message from the EU is "get on with it" with no real thought of the consequences for the European citizens who voted and those who live in the UK. Consequences which could be dire looking at historical events which turned brother against brother.
Gordon Brown is probably correct in saying the elephant in the room is globalization. Everyone needs help to address the new world we are approaching.
Maybe a lot of people who voted did so as a cry for help about how we deal with globalisation.
The question is will you look for an inclusive solution that addresses the concerns or banish the people who dared to voice their fears?

Charles Gordon's picture

We are not all Mr Farage

Thank you for your comments Mr Andriukaitis. It is important that people across the world realise that Mr Farage does not speak for Britain, and does not even speak for the majority of people who voted to leave the UK. I watched in horror throughout the referendum campaign as the out group spread lie after lie, which was sucked up by an angry populous through the malign influence of some of our print media. However, among this grouping Mr Farage and his unpleasant party manage to sink to particular depths in inciting bigotry and hatred of foreigners. I have been a firm supporter of the UK's membership of the EU throughout, and will support all efforts for this tainted referendum to be set aside and for us to reclaim our rightful place alongside our European friends. To leave the EU will be massively detrimental to many people both in the UK and elsewhere, so I hope that wise heads prevail. The referendum was the start of a process, but I do not believe that 37% of the overall electorate (or even 52% of those voting) represents a clear mandate for such a drastic event. The UK electorate must be allowed a chance to choose assess the impact of leaving the EU again, now that the devastating impact has been made clear. Our tabloid newspapers must not be allowed to get in the way of the real truth. The EU has not acted on the results of first referenda in the past, and should consider very carefully again whether this travesty in the UK really represents the will of the people.

Rodger Bradley's picture

Thoughts from #WeAreSeat123

Thank you for your comments

Martin Smith's picture

Thank you

On behalf of the 48% who voted to stay part of Europe, thank you for seeing through Farage and staying with us.

Vicki Taylor's picture

Hear Hear

I fully agree with your thoughts and regret the leave vote but we should all still work for these things together. I feel very sad that the UK is in the position it is in. I for one voted to remain and most of those I know did too.

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