‘I’m Catalan and in prison’: Twitter erupts after EU bigwig Verhofstadt’s ‘I am European’ mantra
Guy Verhofstadt, Belgium’s staunch pro-EU politician, tried to hail the pan-European cause on Twitter, claiming that multiple identities don’t clash in the continent, provoking the ire of Europeans and Catalans in particular.
“I am from Gent, I am Flemish, I live in Belgium and I am European,” he says in a video he uploaded to Twitter. “There is no contradictions at all! There is no war of identities in Europe!”
Verhofstadt, a key Brexit negotiator in the European Parliament and an over-the-top EU supporter, wrote that Europeans should feel free to choose multiple identities and “be proud of all of them.”
In a matter of minutes, the Twitterati began dismantling the idyllic world portrayed by Verhofstadt. While some acknowledged they were proud to be European, others, including Catalans, pounded the EU boss for the bold statement he was trying to make.
It is difficult to agree and RT for people that have been more than one year in pre-trial detention. pic.twitter.com/KVATGeeGuJ— Kats 🇸🇪 consell.republicat.cat (@Katalanskt) January 28, 2019
“I’m Catalonian, I want independence for my country of Catalonia, I’m in prison because of my views, you don’t give a s**t,” one wrote.
I am catalan, my mother tongue is catalan, I am democrat and republican and in Spain I am an pariah. I can be hit, insulted, accused, put in jail without trial. Of course with the complicity of ALDE and Verhofstadt— Tess (@Teresaka3) January 28, 2019
“1066 persons beaten for their identity. Freedom for Catalonia!” one user wrote, attaching what appears to be images of a pro-independent Catalan protest being dispersed by Spanish police.
1066 persons beaten for their identity. Freedom for Catalonia!👏🏻🎗 pic.twitter.com/IRQWOrjFtc— Gràcia🌹🌷🎗 (@nomedigas29) January 28, 2019
Adding insult to injury, others seemingly vented their anger at the EU bureaucracy, accusing it of hijacking the true European idea.
“I am English. I am British and I am proud. What you don’t understand Guy is that people like me love Europe, Europeans, their culture & their food. We just hate the dying, corrupt, protection racket EU. Got it?” a netizen commented.
I am English. I am British and I am proud.What you don’t understand Guy is that people like me love Europe, Europeans, their culture & their food. We just hate the dying, corrupt, protection racket EU. Got it?— Bristolterrier (@Waiwera1942) January 28, 2019
Stop claiming EU has the right over being European, lots of people are European but may still be against the EU. This full scale capturing of the phrase and an either youre with us or against us approach is too close to the ghosts of recent history.— Paul Corrigan (@CorriganPaul) January 28, 2019
I'm from Buckinghamshire, EnglandI live in Edinburgh, ScotlandI support an independent Scottish nation in the EU#IamEuropean— Winnfrith (@Winnfrith1) January 28, 2019
There were some who said the very idea of identity was utter nonsense.
I'm British. I love singing The French national anthem pic.twitter.com/rwpBdNjziK— Mutley (@nooouch) January 28, 2019
I am a translator, a woman, an amateur photographer, a PhD candidate at UCL. I refuse to be labelled by nationalities.— Valeria Reggi (@ReggiValeria) January 28, 2019
EU-bashers were also there to make their point.
Guy has received a lot from Europe. Even his villa, including vineyard.No wonder he likes it so much— Wim Van Wesemael (@WimVanWesemael) January 28, 2019
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