President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has said that: “It’s clear what the British people want and we should act accordingly”, and pushed for Article 50 to be triggered as soon as possible.
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker spoke at the European Union (EU) Referendum debate at the European Parliament in Brussels today, pushing for Prime Minister David Cameron to “clarify” Britain’s position in order to avoid “uncertainty” for the rest of the EU, and said that there should be “consequences” following the result of the referendum.
Mr. Juncker opened his address with the unequivocal statement:
“Our British friends have expressed their views with universal suffrage and their decision must be respected. Democracy is democracy and we must respect British democracy.”
He then pushed for “clarification” from Mr. Cameron, stating that following the vote to leave the EU there would be “consequences”, and urged for Article 50 to be triggered as quickly as possible:
“I will ask the Prime Minister for clarification. We cannot be embroiled in lasting uncertainty… I would like our British friends to tell us what they want and get on with it.
“They expressed their view now there must be consequences. There’s a vote — now there’s hesitation.”
The President of the European Commission then stated that “It is we who decide what happens – not just those who wish to leave the EU.”
Furthermore, to put to bed any rumours of unofficial negotiations taking place before the triggering of Article 50, Mr. Juncker made it clear that:
“There will be no secret negotiations. I have placed a presidential ban on committees engaging in discussions with representatives from the UK.”
Mr. Juncker reiterated his resolve to respect and enact the will of the British electorate:
“It’s clear what the British people want and we should act accordingly.”
And closed by saying:
“We need to know that new relations are beginning with UK… Despite the vote the British remain our friends”.
This conciliatory note is in stark contrast to earlier reports that Mr. Juncker was pushing for Britain to be “taught a lesson” with a quick and punishing exit, his endeavour finding support from France and Spain, in order to set an example to other populist Eurosceptics across the Union who may be emboldened to push to hold their own referendums on their membership of the EU.
However, thoughts of vengeance may have been tempered following a meeting yesterday between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Mr. Juncker where the Commission President was warned against “revengeful premises” during the negotiations.