Stephen Fry: ‘I am - and always will be - European’

Stephen Fry. Photograph: Hay Festival.

Stephen Fry. Photograph: Hay Festival. - Credit: Archant

Stephen Fry has said Europe has shaped him 'enormously', and regardless of politics he will remain European.

The actor, writer and comedian was speaking at the Hay Festival as he explained what Europe meant to him and, despite admitting Europe having its faults, said the politics surrounding Europe did make him feel any less European.

He said: "Whatever the state of my country, wherever we are in terms of politics, I am and always will be a European.

"I can't apologise for it, although sometimes one feels one has to, my values are ones that were born in Europe and I suppose one could say Asia minor in terms of the ancient Greek culture and the thought and art that came out of so many parts of this country.

"For good and ill Europe has been an enormous influence on the world, and it has just been as enormous on me."

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But Fry admitted that Europe has its faults and from time to time lets us down, just like a relative you love unconditionally.

He continued: "So I think like anyone who loves their family, and Europe is my grandmother, although you love them unconditionally, you don't ignore their faults.

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"And I think Europe has its faults, Europe is always letting us down, just as our parents, our children, or our brothers and sisters let us down.

"That doesn't mean we're any less European.

"That's a complicated thing to have said, and I said it very badly. However, I said it in England, which may no longer be a European language so I'm going to have to learn Croatian and say it then."

Speaking to the BBC, Fry recently said he feared for the 'little England' mentality surrounding Brexit.

He said: "Whatever one thinks of Brexit, the idea that we leave a group of self-interested [countries], a bloc, to whom we send MPs and we have a council of ministers, we leave that and do a deal with someone whose motto is 'America First'? I mean, what?!"

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