The European Parliament’s former Brexit representative took to social media to made his feeling plain about the EU’s decision to delay imposing tariffs and an arms embargo in response to Turkey’s operation to explore for hydrocarbons off the coast of Cyprus and Greece. Instead, the bloc announced a series of more moderate measures targeting an unspecified number of Turkish officials and entities. He tweeted: “EU pussyfooting on Turkey sanctions risks undermining our credibility as a global power even further, and creating a rift members states.
“What more do we need before we act?!”
Albert Quop responded: “Unfortunately (in all honesty), EU has demonstrated time and time again that it is not a global power.
“EU is nowhere to be seen on the diplomatic seen, but on Twitter…”
Kyriakos Themistocleous said: “As a global what? “Sorry my friend, but we are far away from being a power. That’s the bitter truth!
“We sure used to be, for internal affairs, but we even lost our power on that section as well!! (Poland & Hungary) EU’s geopolitical attitude has to change immediately.
Another simply observed: “Global Power?! You’re having a laugh.”
Other Twitter users suggested the Mr Verhofstadt’s claim was not backed up by reality.
He said: “If you are a global power, why is the USA still protecting you 75 years after the end of WWII?
“Why are there still US troops in Europe?”
Anton Waye Tranberg added: “A global power. You must be familiar with the concept. UK was 200 yrs ago.”
Others referenced the UK’s decision to quit the EU.
John Toomey reminded Mr Farage of his old sparring partner, saying: “Global power? Merkel = Global Leader, Verhofstadt = struggled to deal with Farage.”
And another said: “The EU has not become a union based on common values or shared identity and culture, but a cartel based on common interests.
“After Brexit and with the Germans dominant it is even worse.
“The EU can not be a global power. Its time to be honest about it.”
Meanwhile Gunter Fehlinger pointed out Turkey was a member of NATO.
He posted: “Turkey is our Ally! Focus on hostile Russia
“From Ivory Tower of @guyverhofstadt moral grandstanding is easy! But if you are at Eastern Front of Western World and hostile Russia and Iran next door you see the world more realistic @ZelenskyyUa @RTErdogan.”
Mr Verhofstadt has made similarly grandiose claims about the EU in the past.
Speaking at the Liberal Democrat’s annual conference last year as he pushed the idea of a European army, he said: “The world of tomorrow is a world of empires, in which we Europeans and you British can only defend your interests, your way of life by doing it together in a European framework and a European Union.
He added: “The world order of tomorrow is not a world order based on nation states or countries, it’s a world order that is based on empires. China is not a nation, it’s a civilisation.”
The EU’s imposition of limited punitive measures was rapidly reject by the Turkish ministry of foreign affairs, which issued a statement in which it said: “We reject the biased and unlawful attitude which had to be inserted into the 10 December EU summit conclusions after the pressure of solidarity and veto.”
Tensions between Turkey on the one hand, and Greece and Cyprus on the other, spiked significantly after President Recept Tayyip Erdogan sent the research vessel Oruc Reis to the eastern Mediterranean in the summer, and have been simmering ever since.
Speaking prior to Thursday’s European summit, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said: “It is very clear what is at stake here: the credibility of the European Union.”