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

Deirdre Thomas, a resident of Belguim, waving an EU flag and a Union jack in Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire.

Deirdre Thomas, a resident of Belguim, waving an EU flag and a Union jack in Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire.

Press Association

Brussels marked the UK's penultimate night in the EU with an evening of music and celebrations hosted by Remain-supporting MEPs.

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism

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.

Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium, is lit up in red, white and blue during a celebration and farewell to the UK on the eve of the UK leaving the European Union. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire.Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium, is lit up in red, white and blue during a celebration and farewell to the UK on the eve of the UK leaving the European Union. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire.

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.

A band playing in Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium, which is lit up in red, white and blue during a celebration and farewell on the eve of the UK leaving the European Union. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire.A band playing in Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium, which is lit up in red, white and blue during a celebration and farewell on the eve of the UK leaving the European Union. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire.

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."

Members of the Celtic Passion Pipe Band playing in Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium, which is lit up in red, white and blue during a celebration and farewell on the eve of the UK leaving the European Union. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire.Members of the Celtic Passion Pipe Band playing in Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium, which is lit up in red, white and blue during a celebration and farewell on the eve of the UK leaving the European Union. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire.

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."

Members of the Celtic Passion Pipe Band playing in Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium, which is lit up in red, white and blue during a celebration and farewell on the eve of the UK leaving the European Union. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire.Members of the Celtic Passion Pipe Band playing in Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium, which is lit up in red, white and blue during a celebration and farewell on the eve of the UK leaving the European Union. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire.

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

Members of the Celtic Passion Pipe Band playing in Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium, which is lit up in red, white and blue during a celebration and farewell on the eve of the UK leaving the European Union. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire.Members of the Celtic Passion Pipe Band playing in Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium, which is lit up in red, white and blue during a celebration and farewell on the eve of the UK leaving the European Union. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire.

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Become a supporter

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £20

Latest Articles

Most Read

latest issue

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Find your nearest pro-European campaigning activities, talks, protests and events nationwide.