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Juncker tells UK 'get your act together' over Brexit

The European Commission President thinks most MPs “deeply distrust” both the EU and Theresa May.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker
Image: Ronald Zak/AP/Press Association Images

EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT Jean-Claude Juncker has called on the United Kingdom to “get your act together” in relation to Britain leaving the European Union.

Juncker told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag it is “entirely unreasonable for parts of the British public to believe that it is for the EU alone to propose a solution for all future British problems”.

“My appeal is this: get your act together and then tell us what it is you want… 

“I have the impression that the majority of British MPs deeply distrust both the EU and [British Prime Minister Theresa] Mrs May.

“It is being insinuated that our aim is to keep the United Kingdom in the EU by all possible means. That is not our intention. All we want is clarity about our future relations. And we respect the result of the referendum,” he said. 

May is hoping to get extra concessions from the EU ahead of a crucial House of Commons vote on the draft Withdrawal Agreement in January. 

Backstop 

Earlier this month, May postponed a vote on the deal so she could seek additional assurances on the backstop element of the agreement. 

Many politicians have raised concerns about the backstop, which aims to avoid a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland and could see the North stay aligned to some EU rules.

Juncker’s comments come as British international trade secretary and Brexiteer Liam Fox told the Sunday Times the chances of Britain leaving the EU are “50-50” if MPs reject May’s deal.

“Parliament cannot now, with any honour, renege on [the referendum] result.

“Were they to do so, I think you would shatter the bond of trust between the electorate and parliament. And I think that would put us into unprecedented territory with unknowable consequences,” Fox said. 

Preparations are being made at British, Irish and European level for a no-deal Brexit, ahead of the official withdrawal date of 29 March. 

With reporting from © AFP 2018 

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