The president of the European Commission has said Britain will be treated like a “third country” after Brexit and the divorce will be so bad for the UK it will deter all other states from leaving the bloc.
In wide-ranging and combative interview, Jean-Claude Juncker also said the Marine Le Pen will not become the French President and the European Union’s (EU) relationship with President Donald J. Trump is “something akin to estrangement.”
“They [the 27 other member states] will all see from the U.K.’s example that leaving the EU is a bad idea,” he told Bild am Sonntag.
When asked about Brexit negotiations, Mr. Junker claimed the Commission has “everything prepared down to the last detail”, warning that “the U.K. will need to prepare itself to be treated as a third country. There will be no half-membership or cherry picking. In Europe, the choice is to eat what’s on the table or not come to the table at all.”
Speaking ahead of next week’s celebrations to mark the EU’s 60th anniversary, Mr. Juncker also said: “The European Union will survive Marine Le Pen because she won’t become President.”
“And even if she did, it would not be the end of the European project. But it would certainly rock the boat. So I hope that pro-European forces will win in France,” he added.
He described the relationship with the new U.S. administration as “something akin to estrangement,” citing his encouragement of EU countries to follow the U.K.’s decision to leave the bloc.
“The fact that the American president welcomes the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU and is encouraging other countries to follow suit is an unprecedented phenomenon. We need to engage in intensive dialogue,” he said.
Following the Dutch elections, he also called on all Europeans to resist the rise of populism across the continent. “If they just sit back in their armchairs while the populists march on, the latter will always be one step ahead,” he said.