Brexit

Britain, Europe, and Jean-Claude Juncker

Here’s a thing Mr Juncker: your presidency won’t last forever

BY Adam Pilon   /  9 May 2017




Last week, the European media was buzzing with the news of how the President of the European Commission had once again levelled threats at the UK’s future outside the EU. But history shows such provocation only spurs our great island on to success.

After meeting Prime Minister Theresa May over dinner on April 26th, a leak revealed that Jean-Claude Juncker said he was “ten times more sceptical” about a deal, before confiding to Angela Merkel that the May was “deluded”. The comments showed an egotistical man at his worst, refusing to compromise with a nation he sees as troublesome.

For several hundred years, leaders and dictators of many countries have attempted to browbeat Britain with regards to trade and foreign policy. You only have to look to the tumultuous 17th and 18th centuries and Britain’s relationship with France, Spain, and the Catholic Church for examples of despotic regimes refusing to accept reality. Or consider the most famous case of English determination: Henry VIII and “the break with Rome”. Either way, Britain has always been viewed with suspicion and treated as an outsider by mainland Europe.

Mr Juncker, whose nomination as President was fiercely opposed by former Prime Minister David Cameron, is continuing in this tradition. He has repeatedly spoken out against the British government, and during Mr Cameron’s desperate negotiations in February 2016, Juncker and his fellow cronies opposed any changes which would benefit the UK. As a result Cameron pressed ahead with the referendum with a decisively weak hand. We all know what happened – the Brussels intransigence rather backfired.

Now the top Eurocrat has the chance to establish cordial and longstanding future relations with a country which has decided to leave what can only be described as a sinking ship. But like the infamous French President and General Charles De Gaulle, Juncker simply refuses to compromise and seems to be more concerned with the European Union’s prestige and his own legacy.

When Britain applied to join what was then the European Economic Community in 1961, De Gaulle rejected the application with a characteristic “Non”. Similarly, Juncker’s comments to Mrs May where he insisted that “Brexit cannot be a success” show the ignorance of a headstrong “leader” bearing a grudge.

But here’s a thing Mr Juncker: your presidency won’t last forever, and you would be foolish to forget that when De Gaulle was succeeded as French President by Georges Pompidou in 1969, opposition to Britain’s entrance to the EEC floundered. This will be the case with Brexit, albeit with opposing results.

After that dinner on April 26th, Angela Merkel allegedly reacted angrily to Juncker’s threats and the supposed “leaks”, and it seems she felt they were unhelpful to the ongoing Brexit negotiations. Further proof of the ignorance of the Luxembourgian. This has been followed by EU lawyers warning Juncker the £85 billion severance bill which Eurocrats have insisted will be imposed on Britain is illegal, and cannot be enforced.

We at Get Britain Out believe the country will get good terms for Brexit. We will establish cordial relations with our neighbours and the other European nations, and we will agree a trade deal that will re-centre Britain as a prosperous Mercantile nation.

The only sticking point is Juncker. But fear not – all despots and dictators fall eventually.

Adam Pilon is a Research Executive at cross-party Eurosceptic group Get Britain Out.