Nigel Farage, an MEP for Southeast England, co-chairs the eurosceptic Europe of Freedom and Democracy group in the European Parliament. Farage spoke to EurActiv Germany's Mimoza Troni.
The United Kingdom is approaching 40 years of EU membership. Is this occasion something you are going to celebrate or just remember or even regret?
It is an occasion of great shame and sadness, but it is a time, after 40 years of EU rule, when no aspect of life in our country can be said to have been untainted by the influence of the EU and its agents in Britain.
Some say that the UK's membership in the EU was motivated by the desire of the British to ‘control’ what the Europeans do and also by the Common Market. What is your opinion?
We thought it was just a "Common Market" - that's what we were told. The word "union" was never mentioned. Some of the politicos and civil servants, moguls of finance, industry and the media - saw it from an imperial perspective. I think that they, their opposite numbers in France and Germany and the political class of the EU generally, still do; but nothing was said of this in public.
Washington wanted us to join - ostensibly for the very reason you mention - to keep Germany in check. The Americans also funded Schuman, Spinelli, Monnet, Spaak and the rest - and poured money into the UK's yes-campaign in 1975. That's why we joined the EEC.
You left the Conservative Party when the Maastricht Treaty was signed. Why do you think that the UK would be better off without its membership in the EU?
I left the Tories when they failed to stop Maastricht. They had failed, and a new party was needed to remove the immense drain on our resources which the EU had become, and because, under its sugary exterior, the EU was clearly a dictatorship. It is getting worse all the time. Every nation would be better off without it.
What are your biggest concerns regarding the European Union?
Its clever simulacrum of democracy, its immense ambition, its diversion of taxpayers' and consumers' money to a vast array of pro-EU, opinion-forming organisations ...
How has EU membership influenced the UK most?
The corruption of society by political correctness: Political correctness is the doctrine whereby the political power alone decides what is right or wrong.
The Think Tank “Open Europe” names several advantages of the UK’s EU membership, particularly concerning the automobile and financial service industry. In terms of economy, could the UK afford to leave the EU?
Of course! [Open Europe] talks nonsense. What British car industry? There is not a single largescale, British car manufacturer left! And as for our financial services, they are under siege from the EU.
Do you see an acceptable alternative for UK, except for leaving it?
No, I don't.
David Cameron announced the British veto in case the EU tries to expand it's budget for 2014-2020. What are your thoughts on Cameron’s idea?
He's merely trying to stay in power - which is where the EU-crats want him. He is their last hope in the UK.
What do you think about the possibility of the eurogroup having an own budget and another budget for all EU member states?
It's the next stage in the break-up of the EU. Bring it on!
What is the British position towards the European Union Financial Transaction Tax (EU FTT)?
It's one of those attacks on our finance-industry. Most of the EU's financial transactions take place in London.
If the British population would have to vote for staying in or leaving the EU, what result would you forecast?
We would reject the EU - it costs us £150 billion a year in lost world trade, in the cost of EU regulation and in direct contributions. It does not have, cannot have and has no wish to have, any democratic accountability. The EU is an extremely dangerous successor to the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century.
You recently criticised the European Commission’s President Barroso for not being elected by the people. He responded to you by saying that you did not manage to get elected in the UK, so you came to Brussels. Your response?
Ridiculous - but his implied contempt for the EU's pseudo-parliament is honest enough. Nevertheless, I was elected by tens of thousands and he was merely approved, from a list of one, by less than 600 EU fanatics and careerists.
Against the background of your attitude towards the EU, why are you a MEP?
It was the only way to break the EU's media embargo in Britain. The pro-EU media have to pretend that "MEPs" are important, because they are the EU Commission's "democratic" camouflage. So they have to take notice of UKIP, which was elected to 13 seats, in 2009, with two-and-a-half million votes.
Why does the UK not join the Schengen Treaty?
Our EU-parties would love to, but they don't feel they can get away with it, now that UKIP is breathing down their necks, as it were.
Is there something like a European identity growing in the UK? Do the British feel European?
We are Europeans, and proud of it. It is this centralised, homogenised EU, which is anti-European.