Launching another attack on the Foreign Secretary Anna Maria Corazza Bildt said Europe associated the word ‘liberation’ with being freed from “military occupation, fascism, nazism and communism”.
In a Guardian comment piece, she wrote: “Johnson rebutted that liberation is about being freed, and said he wanted to reclaim the English language, stating that he should be able to use ‘liberation’ in relation to the UK’s ability to take back control of tariff schedules in Geneva.
“However, the Oxford English Dictionary definition of liberation is clear: ‘The action of setting someone free from imprisonment, slavery, or oppression; release’.
“In these challenging times, talking about liberating Britain from the European Union is in bad taste. For me this is a red line.
Anna Maria Corazza Bildt has launched another attack on Boris Johnson
“Johnson has said that the UK will leave the EU but will continue to be part of Europe; he should then respect our common history.
“Lecturing me on language when I pointed out our shared history was very dismissive. It was not only the use of the word but also the context. It was said at a high-level conference on security in Europe, where the mood was sober and people were concerned.”
The pair locked horns during a recent Munich security conference where Boris Johnson participated in a panel discussion on the future of the west.
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Talking about liberating Britain from the European Union is just bad taste
Anna Maria Corazza Bildt
She said: “I would like to tell the foreign minister of the UK that the word liberation in the history of Europe has a very strong meaning.
“In these challenging times talking about liberating Britain from the European Union is just bad taste.”
Mr Johnson responded: “I say, come on. I have to say, I hesitate to accuse you of pomposity, but the word liberation clearly means … it’s etymologically equivalent to being freed.
“And I’m afraid it’s an undeniable fact that we, the UK, has been unable to do, to run its own trade policy for 44 years.
“We now have an opportunity to do exactly that. I think people should be very proud and very excited by that and that is exactly what we are.
“And I want to reclaim the English language, if I may. There is absolutely no reason why I should not use the word ‘liberation’ to refer to our ability to take back control of our tariff schedules in Geneva and do our own free trade deals.
“And I’m sorry, but I’m going to disagree with you emphatically.”
To which the MEP thundered: “We are neither occupying you or a prison.”
In her article, Ms Bildt also argued Britain had entered the bloc freely as a sovereign nation also accused the former London mayor of misleading the British public about what Brussels and done for trade.
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Continued cooperation with the EU to tackle terrorism and international crime.
“When Johnson refers to the ability of the UK to run its own trade policy, he is ignoring that free trade agreements have been one of the greatest success of the EU, where the UK has played a key role in shaping our trade policies.
“I am one of those who appreciate the UK’s great contribution in fighting protectionism and promoting free trade over the years.
“The UK benefits from almost 60 free trade deals with third countries. Have they been harmful for the people of the UK?”
She added: “Some of us in Europe feel that the UK is playing a blame game and demonising the EU, and this is leading nowhere.”
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