The Allianz Arena football stadium in Munich, Germany, illuminated in rainbow colours as part of annual LGBTQ+ events held in various cities across Europe, 11 July 2020. The stadium is home to FC Bayern Munich, Germany’s most successful football team, and is named for the large German financial services provider. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)


‘Woke capitalism’ not in mainland Europe, says Verhofstadt as he rounds on Farage


Former Belgian prime minister and Euro Federalist MEP Guy Verhofstadt has launched an online assault against arch-Brexiteer and former UK MP Nigel Farage after rejecting claims that “woke capitalism” had spread to Europe.

Verhofstadt, who was a bitter opponent of the former Brexit Party leader during Farage’s time in the European Parliament, took to social media to brand him a “disingenuous grifter” who “can stay in the UK”.

When contacted by Brussels Signal if he had any response to his former colleague, the normally vociferous ex-MEP-turned-broadcaster responded simply: “No.”

Verhofstadt was reacting to an online report that suggested the campaign against “woke capitalism”, as championed by Farage in his battle against the UK banking system “de-banking” customers lenders deemed unsuitable, was spreading to Europe and was being adopted by other Eurosceptic parties across the bloc.

“European companies have a lot of problems … but wokeness isn’t one of them.” declared Verhofstadt on X (formerly Twitter).

Then, in reference to the report that mentioned Farage’s battle with his former bank Coutts, he added: “This disingenuous grifter can stay in the UK … where his previous cause is overwhelmingly unpopular. Lies only get you so far!”

He did not elaborate further on what he meant by that.

The two men have a history of verbal sparring both inside the Brussels plenary and across social media.

When Verhofstadt was appointed as the European Parliament’s lead negotiator before the Brexit talks began in 2016, Farage went on the offensive and said: “I can’t think of a man more insulting towards the British, our standing in the world, or even the concept of nation state democracy.

“They just could not have picked a human being more negative to what we are trying to do. In the European temple of federalism, he is the high priest. And people like me are not worthy.”

Verhofstadt has also lashed out at Farage in the past, branding him the “biggest waste of EU money ever” during one parliamentary debate.

The feud bubbled to the surface again on August 23, less than 24 hours before it was revealed that the former boss of Natwest, the parent bank responsible for blocking Farage’s account on political reasons and who resigned under a cloud, was to receive a final payout of £2.4m.

Alison Rose resigned after admitting to being the BBC source for a report that claimed the controversial Brexit leader had his account shut because he fell below the wealth threshold, when that was untrue.

Farage branded her payout as “a sick joke” on X.

“This is the corrupt British establishment looking after its own. It’s the corrupt British establishment at its very, very worst.”