EU Prez Candidate: ‘EU Should Have Interfered During Brexit Campaign’

WICKLOW, IRELAND - MAY 12: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (L) is greeted by EPP Group Chairman Manfred Weber (R) as he arrives for the European People's Party Group Bureau meeting at Druids Glen on May 12, 2017 in Wicklow, Ireland. Brexit and negotiating objectives will top the agenda …
Charles McQuillan/Getty

Merkel ally and candidate for president of the European Commission Manfred Weber has said that the EU should have “interfered” during the Brexit campaign.

Asked by Frankfurter Rundshau whether the bloc should work harder to woo British MPs to accept Prime Minister Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement, rather than reject it and press on with a clean break from the EU, Manfred Weber said, “We should have interfered during the Brexit campaign.

“We should have said to the British: Stay with us. Although Brexit is a national decision, it affects us all immensely. Our silence was a mistake.”

Adding that “the British have decided” and “as democrats we have to accept that,” the European Commission president hopeful said that “The British, in turn, have to live with the negative consequences of their exit.

“But it is clear that the door of the EU remains open for the UK.”

The EU’s budget commissioner Günther Oettinger warned Thursday that Germany may have to face its own ‘negative consequences’ of a no-deal Brexit after the German native warned that without the British £39 billion divorce bill, Germany would have to fork out additional hundreds of millions of euros to cover the shortfall.

Weber, an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is a career Brussels bureaucrat who though was in the Bavarian state parliament never held national office in Germany.

Last month, Weber won the backing of the European Parliamentary grouping the European People’s Party (EPP), of which Weber is also chief, to go forward as a candidate for president of the European Commission — the powerful, unelected executive arm of the European Union.

If the EPP retains its position as the largest grouping of parties after European Parliament elections in May 2019, the group will be in the strong position of appointing the next president of the Commission, taking over from Jean-Claude Juncker.

On the day that the UK triggered Article 50, beginning the official process of leaving the EU, Weber claimed that the British politicians who campaigned for the UK leave leave the EU “were allowed to grow up in a free Europe.”

“Today they are building new walls … History will show that Brexit is a tremendous mistake. It will create a lot of damage for both sides.”

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