recentnews

News at the moment

WORLD

Brexit news latest: Brussels glows in Union Jack colours as it hosts British-themed festival to say goodbye to UK



The latest headlines in your inbox

The UK’s penultimate night in the EU has been marked by British-themed music and celebrations across Brussels, hosted by Remain-supporting MEPs

The Mayor of Brussels arranged for the city’s Grand-Place to be lit up in the Union Flag’s red, white and blue, while a band played English rock and folk songs in the square.

Philippe Close set up the event to celebrate the friendship between Brussels and the UK ahead of Brexit on Friday. 

As part of the event, attendees had the chance to get their picture taken with a red phone box and black cab while Molly Malone blared in the background.

A band of bagpipers also marched through the square sporting kilts and flying the flag of St Andrew.

A ‘Brussels Calling’ party was thrown at Grand Place(Getty Images)

Elsewhere, the Green Party’s Magid Magid hosted a “Brexit’s s*** but let’s party anyway” event at the Place Luxembourg, just outside the European Parliament.

The party featured a performance by “Magic Magid and the F*** Brexit Orchestra”, a wedding arch to stage fake weddings for “Brexit victims” complete with a veil and a ring.

In the centre of the square, the statues had been gagged to represent the silencing of Britain’s voice in Europe.

Three yellow Minis branded with the slogan “The Brexit Job: The Self Devastation Society” were parked nearby.

Tourists could take photos with red phone boxes and London black cabs (REUTERS)

Those who did not fancy a night in the cold had the option of heading to a ceilidh at La Maison des Ailes, close the European Commission.

The 27 EU member states approved Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement on Wednesday, paving the way for the UK’s departure at 11pm on Friday. 

MEPs broke into an emotional chorus of Auld Lang Syne after the vote. 

Despite the show of good cheer on Thursday, many Green MEPs could not hide their anger at being shut out of their main sphere of influence.

A woman wearing an EU fan’s attends a concert on the Grand Place (Getty Images)

Ellie Chown, an MEP for the West Midlands, said: “We’ve got a fundamental democratic deficit in the UK and it’s really galling when people criticise the EU when our democratic deficit is far worse.

“We have unelected members sitting in the House of Lords, we even have unelected Cabinet members.

“Here in the European Parliament, it’s proportional and you get a different type of politics – you’re looking for common ground and engaging in proper dialogue rather than a dialogue of the deaf we have in Westminster.”

Ms Chown vowed to return to the UK with “a real determination” to champion political reform, adding that she could see the energy around the unsuccessful campaign for a second referendum bringing new momentum to the same cause.

Catherine Rowett, who represents the Greens in the East of England, thought the UK would be back in the EU within a generation.

Brussels threw the event to celebrate its friendship with the UK (REUTERS)

“Obviously it will happen,” she said.

“People are aware of what they are losing, as long as the right wing forces don’t manage to raise a generation who are afraid of foreigners.

“I think when the current generation of 16- to 30-year-olds are in the leadership positions, then they will take us back in.”

London MEP Scott Ainslie could not hide his anger at the Brexit Party: “I feel part of my identity has been ripped out of me by a malignant force. It’s been a complete con.”

He added: “It’s easy to be destructive, but what do you build? Where’s your manifesto what do you actually believe in – we know what your against – but what do you replace it with?”

More about:

|

Brussels

|

Brexit

|

UK