Jean-Claude Juncker today said Britain will probably need to delay Brexit again as he rushed to defend Theresa May and blasted anti-EU ‘nationalists’ who hate the bloc.
The President of the European Commission, who will leave his job this summer, said the Prime Minister is a ‘tough person’ who he ‘likes very much’ but is being hounded from office.
He also accused the Tories of putting their coup to remove Mrs May ahead of delivering Brexit – but admitted he was pleased that the deadlock shows ‘leaving the European Union is not easy’.
Mr Juncker said: ‘What I don’t like in the British debate is it seems more important to replace the Prime Minister than to find an agreement among themselves’.
Paying tribute to Mrs May, who has been unable to take Britain out of the EU, he added: ‘This is a woman who knows how to do things but she is unable to succeed in doing things. I like her very much; she is a tough person’.
Mr Juncker also said that another delay to Brexit beyond October 31 looks likely because of the deadlock at Westminster.
He said: ‘I am getting fed up because we are waiting for the next extension. I hope they will agree among themselves, and they will leave by the end of October think it’s their patriotic duty to get an agreement’.
European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, pictured kissing Theresa May in March, today blasted those who want her sacked as well as anti-EU ‘nationalists’
Mr Juncker said he was pleased with how negotiations with Britain had gone because it showed how hard it is to leave.
Juncker: I don’t have drink problem
Jean Claude-Juncker, pictured drinking a beer at a Brussels summit last summer, today furiously denied he is an alcoholic
A furious Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday hit out at reports he has a drink problem.
The EU Commission president, 64, blamed the rumours on ‘stupid journalists’.
In an interview with Finnish media, Mr Juncker was asked about a Nato summit last summer where he was filmed stumbling around before a high-level dinner with world leaders.
He blasted: ‘I no longer answer these questions. I’ve said it many times that I do not have a problem with alcohol. Stupid journalists always ask the same question, even though this question has already been answered.’
His officials insist he suffers from sciatica and cramps following a car crash in 1989.
Mr Juncker also refused to answer questions about why he fondled the hair of the European Commission’s deputy chief of protocol, Pernilla Sjölin, on his way into a summit in Brussels in December.
He said: ‘The number of those in favour of the European Union is increasing because people are watching what is happening and they are seeing that leaving the European Union is not as easy as they were told’.
He also told CNN of his dislike for anti-EU groups.
He said: ‘These populist, nationalists, stupid nationalists, they are in love with their own countries. They don’t like those coming from far away, I like those coming from far away’.
Despite his warm words for Mrs May the pair have not always seen eye-to-eye having clashed during Brexit negotiations.
In December Mrs May confronted him after he described her Brexit demands as ‘nebulous and imprecise’.
The clash was caught on camera and showed the furious PM storming towards him saying: ‘What did you call me? You called me nebulous’.
The EU chief looked shocked but said: ‘No I didn’t, I didn’t’ to which Mrs May replied: ‘Yes you did, nebulous’.
Mr Juncker angrily denied having a drink problem this week.
The EU Commission president insisted ‘stupid journalists’ were to blame for rumours he has a problem with alcohol.
The top Eurocrat has been pictured struggling to walk at a number of public events over the past year.
In an interview with the Finnish media Mr Juncker was asked about a Nato summit last summer where he was filmed stumbling around before a high-level dinner with world leaders.
He blasted back: ‘I no longer answer these questions. I’ve said it many times that I do not have a problem with alcohol.
‘Stupid journalists always ask the same question, even though this question has already been answered.’
Mr Juncker was also pictured taking a tumble at a dinner for an Africa-Europe summit in December in Vienna, and has repeatedly been seen being held up by other VIPs at summits.
His team has always insisted he suffers from sciatica and cramps due to being in a car crash in 1989.
Emmanuel Macron yesterday insisted that Britain should leave the EU on October 31 with or without a deal to prevent them ‘polluting’ the bloc.
Emmanuel Macron said that the British will ‘pollute’ the EU for years if it does not leave by October 31
The French President, who had fought for the UK to leave the bloc no later than June, says Brussels must not extend Article 50 again even if MPs fail to break the Brexit deadlock.
Mr Macron also gave his support to the EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission president, claiming his negotiations with Britain show he is up to the job.
He told Belgium’s Le Soir newspaper: ‘In the case of Brexit, you just have to know at some point whether it stops or not. If we have the logic of the weakness of saying that it scares us and that we are prepared not to respect the British vote, we betray both the British and the interest of the EU’.
The French leader said the Brexit delay to October 31 agreed by EU leaders in April must be the last.
He said that not allowing another Article 50 extension would ‘prevent the next mandate being polluted by this subject we’ve been talking about for three years’.
Asked about Juncker’s replacement he said: ‘Undeniably, Michel Barnier is a man who has great qualities and he has demonstrated it again in the way of managing the negotiations with the British’.
Donald Tusk yesterday infuriated voters after he took the extraordinary step of urging people to back Change UK on Thursday if they ‘want Britain to stay in the EU’.
The EU Council President, who said there is a ‘special place in hell’ reserved for people who promoted Brexit without a plan, officially backed candidate Jan Rostowski claiming he would make a ‘great MEP for London’.
His decision has caused fury with British voters telling him to ‘mind his own business’ and ‘stop meddling with democracy’ ahead of the May 23 European elections.
Polish born Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski tweeted: ‘Never a good idea for an overseas politician to interfere in the domestic elections of a sovereign nation. Perhaps we will have to now mobilise the 1 million Poles living in GB to vote against Mr Tusk when he stands to be President of Poland next year’.
Tusk’s foray into British politics is the latest intervention from EU chiefs after European Parliament Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt turned up in London campaigning for the Liberal Democrats with Sir Vince Cable earlier this month.
Donald Tusk today took the extraordinary step of urging people to vote for Change UK on Thursday if they ‘want to stay in the EU’. He urged Londoners to back his friend Jan Rostowski, picture on the campaign trail this month
Mr Tusk has used an official statement to back Mr Rostowski, his former deputy prime minister in Poland who has now settled in the British capital, where he was born.
He said: ‘Not only was he the best finance minister in Europe during the financial crisis, he is also a very dear friend who would make a great MEP for London, which I know he loves.
‘I urge Londoners who want Britain to stay in the EU to vote for him.’
Mr Tusk is staunchly pro-European and admitted his hope is that Britain will never leave the EU when Brussels agreed to extend Article 50 until October 31.
His backing for Change UK has caused some disquiet in the UK.
Carol Summers said: ‘Donald Tusk can mind his own business’ while another critic said the EU is ‘getting so frightened of no deal they meddle in our democracy’.
One critic tweeted: ‘The hapless Change UK are a dying group, they’re rather pathetic. If Tusk is idiotic enough to back them, all I can do is shrug my shoulders’
Another said: ‘We are leaving. Then they can say whatever they like after that – nobody will care’.