North West Region

French Alps disaster

French Alps disaster

• European Parliament, Brussels, 25 March 2015

• Paul Nuttall MEP, Deputy Leader, UK Independence Party (North West), Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group – @paulnuttallukip

• Debate: European Council and Commission statements – Conclusions of the European Council meeting of 19-20 March 2015 [2014/2943(RSP)]

Today I was going to talk about issues ranging from Greece to the EU’s energy policy, but when travelling in I thought, well, all this can wait because I don’t believe today should be about political point scoring. We’ll have many opportunities to debate and no doubt disagree with Mr Juncker over the next four years, but today my opinion should be about quiet and unified reflection.

What happened yesterday in the French Alps represented a sickening loss of life and one which has been felt right across our great continent. And although as you all know I am thoroughly opposed to the European Union and its institutions I am actually proud to be a European. Indeed, the fact that my colleagues and I do not believe in the structures of the EU makes us no lesser Europeans. And therefore on behalf of my group I would like to offer my condolences firstly to Germany. 67 of the 144 passengers who have died were German citizens, including 16 children returning from an exchange trip.

Over 40 passengers are believed to be Spanish, and as someone who has lived and worked in Barcelona, and as someone who still has friends in that great Catalan city, my thoughts are with them at this difficult time. Also on board that tragic flight were Britons, Dutch, Danes and Belgians. This tragedy has touched us all.

We must hope for the sake of the families that the salvage operation will be swift and they get the answers they need as quickly as possible so that they can understand why this aeroplane fell to the ground and their loved ones lost their lives. I think I can speak not only on behalf of my group but I’m pretty sure the whole of the European Parliament, when I say that our thoughts and our prayers are with the friends and families of those who so tragically lost their lives in the French Alps yesterday. God bless.

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