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Bye bye Geoffrey, my favorite tory

(B2) Geoffrey left Parliament. Like all the other British MPs. This former British army veteran, intelligence specialist, having served in Northern Ireland and Germany, who finished at the rank of brigadier, before joining the civilian ranks, will be missed... a little

Geoffrey Van Orden during the plenary debate with Emmanuel Macron (credit: EP April 2018)

Having spent 30 years in the ranks of the British army and 20 years on the blue benches of the European Parliament in Strasbourg or Brussels, Geoffrey, in fact, rarely missed an opportunity to bring the European ideal back to reality and to castigate this Europe of defense that he did not see emerging. Not hesitating to use shortcuts, he was very vocal.

Leave it to the professionals

Invariably, in the debates of the defense and security subcommittee, where he came (quite) often, Van Orden thus cut corners on the European defense and ended up celebrating the only defense worth having, that of the transatlantic link. , the only valid one in his eyes. “ The military tool is a distraction within the European Union was his favorite phrase. " The European Union has military ambitions. But she should leave it to the professionals » (1). In other words: “theNATO ". With an alternative: If the CSDP did not exist, no one would notice. Except that member states could finally focus on NATO. »

A job that shouldn't exist

To General de Rousiers, who was at the head of the military committee, he had one day dropped " Your job shouldn't exist. You are a pale imitation of NATO, created just for political reasons. You and your staff are just looking for missions and opportunities to justify your activity. » In short, the ritual was so established that when it was somewhat freed from it, it immediately provoked a few smiles on the benches. Some saying to themselves: Geoffrey, let's see. He returned from a mission in Somalia rather enthusiastic.

Un remain critic, analyst of British disenchantment

A British patriot, he nonetheless called for remaining in this European Union which he did not fail to criticize, in order to remain faithful to his 'motto', never giving in to the sirens of its too-blue flag. taste and not enough red and white… This Wednesday (January 29), during the debate in the European Parliament on the vote on the Brexit withdrawal agreement, he did not fail to express his thoughts. “ We are leaving the EU institutions, the increasingly intrusive regulations, the political scope of the European Court of Justice and the insatiable appetite for further political integration with its distaste for national sovereignty. This is the problem: we believe that the European project has gone too far. indicated the one who was also the leader of the Tory in Parliament. " As national borders eroded and more policy areas came under EU jurisdiction, British disenchantment intensified. »

A Great Britain that remains European and… NATO

In this farewell speech to the European Parliament, Van Orden called on Europeans not to bury the European side of his country too quickly. “ Britain will remain a European power, the leading European power within NATO, committed to the security of the democracies of the European continent, sharing many of the views and aspirations of the nations of Europe; an independent, sovereign country with friendly relations with the EU. [...] It is in the interests of both the EU and the UK that a good deal, based on precedent, is concluded amicably – and by the end of this year. »

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).