UK politicians are not "passionate about Europe", says Jean-Claude Juncker

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says that UK politicians are "not passionate about Europe"

He said, “Over decades of meeting British politicians, my impression has always been that they don’t feel at home in the EU”, adding, “I’ve not met anyone in their political elite who was passionate about Europe."

Juncker, in an interview, also said that other EU countries “do not want to leave the Union,” stating, “Even in countries sometimes governed by Eurosceptics, the majority is pro-EU.”

Separately, UK Home Office figures have revealed that more than 600,000 EU citizens have applied to stay in the UK after Brexit.

Meanwhile, a debate took place on Thursday between four leaders of pan-European groups who are contenders for the European Commission Presidency, specifically, leader of the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), Manfred Weber, leader of the Party of European Socialists (PES) Frans Timmermans, leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Guy Verhofstadt and European Green Party leader Ska Keller. 

There was disagreement on the creation of a EU army, with Verhofstadt saying,“The biggest waste of money in the European Union is the military, the way we organize it”, proposing, “A European army of 20,000 people in 2024.” 

Weber supported the creation of an EU army, whilst Timmermans dismissed the idea, saying, “There is not going to be a European army anytime soon.” 

Timmermans added, “We need the German government to commit to co-operation to help where it hurts today in Europe. It hurts in the economy, it hurts for its workers, it hurts for the transition to a stable society.”

 Finally, Verhofstadt  announced the creation of a new pan-European group, “a global group, a pro-European centrist group, together with Emmanuel Macron.”

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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