Eurocrat Juncker Regrets ‘Big Mistake’ of Not Interfering in Brexit Vote

TOPSHOT - President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker arrives for a special meeting of the European Council to endorse the draft Brexit withdrawal agreement and to approve the draft political declaration on future EU-UK relations on November 25, 2018 in Brussels. (Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP) (Photo credit …
PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty

Outgoing President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has said that he regrets not interfering in Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

“We at the Commission decided not to intervene, at the request of David Cameron, and that was a big mistake,” Mr Juncker told Spanish daily El País.

This is not the first time the most senior figure in the European Union has thought it was his place to meddle in Britons’ decision to leave the EU, saying in May that then-Prime Minster Cameron was wrong telling him not to “intervene” in British affairs.

“It was a mistake [for Brussels] not to intervene and not to interfere, because we would have been the only ones to destroy the lies that were circulated round,” Mr Juncker had said.

“I was wrong to be silent at an important moment,” he added.

If the head of the EU’s executive arm appeared restrained during the time for a sovereign nation to make a decision, it was rare moment for Brussels, which is notorious for asking its Member States’ citizens to vote again if the vote was against the bloc’s interest.

In 1992, Denmark voted against the Maastricht Treaty — which advanced integration and turned the European Community, as the bloc was then known, into the European Union — but Danes were made to vote again.

Ireland voted ‘no’ to the Nice Treaty — which introduced a defence cooperation policy as an endeavour of Brussels — in 2001, but was made to vote again.

The French and the Dutch voted against the European Constitution in 2005, but were ignored. Mr Juncker, then-prime minister of Luxembourg, rejected the decision of both nations, saying: “The French and Dutch did not really vote ‘no’ to the European Constitution.”

Extraordinarily, Juncker had said ahead of the French vote that essentially, the people’s decision was immaterial, saying: “If it’s a Yes, we will say ‘on we go’, and if it’s a No we will say ‘we continue’.”

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