14 : 05 (Lewis) We went behind the European dream – now we are certainly in a nightmare! I cannot stress this enough: it was the wrong decision to vote ‘Leave’.*
Lewis (right) and Joost (left) both work for the only liberal democrat member of the European Parliament. Lewis, who is English, works as a press officer dealing mostly with Brexit, whilst Joost, who is Belgian, works on foreign affairs.
(Lewis) The decision is still reversible: we triggered Article 50 in March of last year and until that process ends, we are not out. We are still a sovereign country part of the Union. Also, everybody from Tusk to Macron made it clear that we would be welcomed back even if we left. So why leave in the first place?
(Joost) (…) Wait a minute, she asked us about the importance of respecting the referendum result.
(Lewis) All right sorry, I may be ranting a little bit; but this is just so frustrating! So, democracy did not ‘die’ on the 24th of June 2016 with the referendum result, because in this case the democratic vote was based on disinformation and lies, many facts about the EU were twisted, especially concerning sensitive topics such as migration. It is not fair for them to claim a democratic vote when they lied to citizens before they voted.
(Joost) He is talking about those who literally made a career out of bashing Brussels, through years and years of negativity and disinformation.
(Lewis) Yes, for me those MPs are responsible for the nightmare we are all living now. Citizens are now well aware that this is a nightmare scenario.
(Joost) Indeed. In the last two years citizens within the UK but also across the rest of Europe – have been opening up to the facts and started to see the reality of Brexit and its long-term consequences. A sad reality is that: should Brexit happen, within five or ten years, the British youth that voted Remain, would be the one living from the outcomes of of a decision it did not make.
(Lewis) We have been part of this Union for 40 years now – this is not something you can just break away from without extreme difficulty. Just look at the difficulty of the actual Brexit negotiations.
(Joost) The UK is one of the founding fathers of this Union. My attachment to Britain comes not only from my studies there and my current work – it also comes from the fact that the E.U. has created this sense of solidarity between all of us member states and people. We have built something so unique together, and it is not over. Within the European Union, we all became like a family.
Losing the UK would be like losing one of our brothers.
(Lewis) I love the European Union and it does not take away the fact that I love the United Kingdom; I am very patriotic and I don’t think these two feelings are incompatible – in fact they are mutually beneficial. That is why I want so hard for my country to remain part of the E.U.
(Joost) Like many British people he has his whole life here, he makes real efforts to integrate, he even tries to speak French to my friends!
(Lewis) British people still want to keep being part of the European dream. They do not want to leave. The UK is not leaving and I am not leaving.
(Joost) Aren’t you in the middle of processing a three-year contract for a flat here? – by the time you deal with all the bureaucracy, you won’t be leaving anywhere.
(They both laugh)
*To ’Leave’ or ‘Remain’ within the European Union – were the two possible decisions presented to the people of the United Kingdom during the 2016 EU referendum. On Thursday 23 June 2016 , the UK voted to leave the EU by 52% to 48%. Leave won the majority of votes in England (except in London) and Wales, while Scotland and Northern Ireland saw Remain majorities.