On Wednesday, Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage gave a triumphant speech to the European Parliament. It’s fair to say it attracted quite a bit of media coverage and comment. But someone else who quickly gained notoriety during the address was Lithuania’s European Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, who was seen holding his head in his hands as Farage told the audience of MEPs, among other things, “None of you have ever done a proper job in your lives”.
Andriukaitis – who, as well as his work in European politics, has a second reasonably “proper job” as a heart surgeon – admits “you will have seen me grimacing and trying to hide my despair while Nigel Farage spoke”. But he adds that he enjoyed the Twitter banter that followed and “can confirm that I do indeed appreciate British humour”.
He also has some more serious points to make. In a post on his blog, Andriukaitis references the “toxic untruths spread by Mr Farage” but says “I was and still am fully with all the British people. I am with those… who voted against unemployment and decreasing standards of living… I am also with those who voted to remain in the EU, who want to create a better future for their families, and who believe that it is possible together, united in diversity…”