The European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker has declared: “I don’t think Britain needs European Union” in sensational remarks this afternoon that are sure to be seized upon by pro-Brexit campaigners.
The Telegraph has reported that ahead of a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Mr. Juncker insisted that while some might think Britain needs the EU, he does not, although he added that he would prefer if the country did stay in the political union.
“I am 150 per cent in favour of having Britain as a constructive member state of the European Union. We need Britain.
“Personally I don’t think Britain needs European Union. But as a matter of conviction others might have a different feeling on that,” he said.
UPDATE 16:26: Mr. Juncker’s press team is now spinning that he said: “Personally I think Britain needs European Union”, leading to UKIP’s digital team to release a video of Mr. Juncker’s comments. He appears to quite clearly say “Personally I don’t think…” and shakes his head at the same time. Watch for yourself:
I have always had a personal liking for Jean-Claude Juncker. He doesn’t think Britain needs the EU and neither do I! https://t.co/wOlGJIs1Xr
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) October 14, 2015
Original story follows…
The news will come as a blow to the Britain Stronger in Europe (BSE) campaign which had its botched launch this week, and included conspiracy theorists like June Sarpong in its celebrity line-up.
It will also severely damage Mr. Cameron’s renegotiation, which Mr. Juncker revealed was broadly non-existent in the first place. The Telegraph reports: “little progress has been made on technical talks that launched in June”.
“I want, we want, a fair deal with Britain,” said Juncker. “We are working in that direction. I cannot give details but our negotiation teams are in close contact for weeks now.
“I cannot say huge progress has been achieved. I cannot say nothing has been achieved.”
“To tango it takes two. I am not a splendid dancer. But at least I know the rules which have to be observed by others. We have to dance. And our British friends have to dance.”
Earlier this week it was revealed that Mr Cameron’s renegotiation plans contain no treaty change and no mention of immigration or open borders.
Nigel Farage told Breitbart London: “I want to buy Juncker some champagne. I have always had a personal liking for Jean-Claude Juncker even though we have political differences. His statement today that personally ‘I don’t think Britain needs the European Union’ is spot on.”