The plan to declare Europe Day – May 9 – a Bank Holiday across the European Union has been described as “a bribe”.
MEP Jonathan Arnott, who hit out at the plan ahead of today’s vote by the European Parliament, said it was “to bribe voters with a holiday to like the European Union more.
“If it is thought that voters will actually like the EU more after this decision they are wrong. People are not as stupid as they like to think though they are still hell-bent on imposing their will on them.
Mr Arnott, Independent MEP for the North East, said he accepted that more Bank Holidays are needed, particularly in the UK, but suggested that in view of the Brexit vote, March 29 or June 23 “might be a little more fitting.”
The vote in favour of the May 9 Bank Holiday was passed by 455 to 190 votes but as it was non-legislative it may never come to fruition.
Mr Arnott has also voiced his concerns on a report on European Citizenship, which seeks to impose a EU identity upon citizens in countries across Europe.
“That is not a European identity, you can feel European while still considering the structures, these institutions to be bad for democracy and bad for accountability,” he said.
“If there is one thing we should have realised by now, should be absolutely obvious by now, it is that the State cannot impose identity on the people.
Mr Arnott, speaking in Strasbourg, pointed out, “There are more calls for taxpayers’ money to be spent to attack any anti-EU dissenting voice. When you define pro-EU is being good and anti-EU as being propaganda, when the State dictates speech and opinion you erode democracy.”
He added, “From my point of view virtually every decision they make just confirms that the British public were right to vote to leave.”