Brussels holds pro-European celebration with British Remainer MEPs ahead of Brexit day
PUBLISHED: 20:09 30 January 2020 | UPDATED: 20:20 30 January 2020
Brussels marked the UK's penultimate night in the EU with an evening of music and celebrations hosted by Remain-supporting MEPs.
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The Mayor of Brussels arranged for the city's Grand-Place to be lit up in the Union Flag's red, white and blue - while a band played English rock and folk songs in the square.
Philippe Close set up the event to promote the ongoing ties between Brussels and the UK, and attendees had the chance to get their picture taken with a red phone box while Molly Malone blared in the background.
A band of bagpipers also marched through the square sporting kilts and flying the flag of St Andrew.
Elsewhere, the Green Party's Magid Magid hosted a "Brexit's shit but let's party anyway" event at the Place Luxembourg - just outside the European parliament.
The party featured a performance by "Magic Magid and the Fuck Brexit Orchestra", a wedding arch to stage fake weddings for "Brexit victims" complete with a veil and a ring.
In the centre of the square, the statues had been gagged to represent the silencing of Britain's voice in Europe.
Three yellow Minis branded with the slogan "The Brexit Job: The Self Devastation Society" we're parked nearby.
A ceilidh was also held at La Maison des Ailes close to the European Commission for those who wished to celebrate inside.
Despite the party atmosphere, MEPs were still bitter about the fat the UK was leaving the EU.
Ellie Chown, an MEP for the West Midlands, told the PA news agency: "We've got a fundamental democratic deficit in the UK and it's really galling when people criticise the EU when our democratic deficit is far worse.
"We have unelected members sitting in the House of Lords, we even have unelected cabinet members.
"Here in the European parliament, it's proportional and you get a different type of politics - you're looking for common ground and engaging in proper dialogue rather than a dialogue of the deaf we have in Westminster."
Catherine Rowett, who represents the Greens in the East of England, thought the UK would be back in the EU within a generation.
"Obviously it will happen. People are aware of what they are losing, as long as the right wing forces don't manage to raise a generation who are afraid of foreigners.
"I think when the current generation of 16- to 30-year-olds are in the leadership positions, then they will take us back in."
London MEP Scott Ainslie could not hide his anger at the Brexit Party: "I feel part of my identity has been ripped out of me by a malignant force. It's been a complete con."
He added: "It's easy to be destructive, but what do you build? Where's your manifesto what do you actually believe in - we know what your against - but what do you replace it with?"
- Additional reporting by the Press Association
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