De Wever: “I never believed that Cameron could win”

The leader of the Flemish nationalist party (N-VA) Bart De Wever has said in an interview with the VRT’s Sunday morning topical discussion programme ‘De zevende dag’ that he never believed that the UK Prime Minister David Cameron could win the in/out referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union.

Mr De Wever, whose party is part of the same group in the European Parliament as the British Conservatives said that he “hope that Cameron would win, but always believed that he couldn’t win”.

Mr De Wever, visited Mr Cameron at 10 Downing Street 10 late last year. Then the Flemish nationalist leader expressed his support for the reform to the conditions of the UK’s membership that Mr Cameron had negotiated with the EU.

Bart De Wever says that he remembers Mr Cameron having been very optimistic about the Brexit referendum.

However, something in the body language of Mr Cameron’s staff suggested to Mr De Wever that all was not right. "I have personally never believed that he could win the referendum”.

According to Mr De Wever, this was due to something in the British character. “A kind of silly, chauvinistic reflex that stems from their country having a different history than the rest of Europe and them looking more towards the United States than the continent”.

"The Scots will win"

As a nationalist, Mr De Wever is pleased that there may be a new independence referendum in Scotland. He is convinced that there will be a referendum and that “They will win it. The UK has not only broken up the EU, but also itself.”

Mr De Waver added that it is interesting that the “eurocratic elite” is now in favour of Scottish independence, while it was opposed to it two years.

The nationalist leader believes that the likes of Jean-Claude Juncker should learn from the Brexit vote.

"They would do better tackling issues that ordinary citizens are concerned about so as not create the impression of ivory towers”.
"Europe would do well to look at why there is so much anti-European sentiment and not just in Great Britain.”

Mr De Wever points to the refugee crisis that is still not under control, social dumping and security, an area in which he says there is room for greater cooperation. He adds that there can be no question of a European super state as this would be “the more direct route to destruction”.

Choice words for Verhofstadt and Juncker

Mr De Wever had some choice words for the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. “A civil servant from Luxembourg telling them that the shouldn’t have done it and they must be punished doesn’t help matters”

"I also thing that the air of revenge you hear in the undertone or in the case of Guy Verhofstadt (the leader of the liberal group in the European Parliament) and even Juncker is very wrong. We are not going to get anywhere with a them and us attitude”.

Mr De Wever concluded by saying "England is located next to us and that island isn’t going to suddenly float away. It is one of our most important export partners, certainly for Flanders. We have every interest in keeping them in the internal market”.