Brussels: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said the UK is drifting towards another Brexit extension in October as he slammed MPs for focussing on Prime Minister Theresa May’s removal over finding agreement on the withdrawal deal. “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,” he said in an interview to CNN on Wednesday.
“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,” he said.
Junker told CNN he was “fed up” with the ongoing impasse but suggested that Brussels was resigned to a further request to extend the UK’s membership later this year. The UK has until October 31 to agree a deal, leave without an agreement or seek a further extension of the Article 50 negotiating period.
Juncker said, “I hope they will agree among themselves and they will leave (the EU) by the end of October… I think it’s their patriotic duty to get an agreement. I am getting fed up because we are (just) waiting for the next extension.”
The Commission president said it was not about the “identity of the next Prime Minister; it’s about the withdrawal agreement”.
With the EU refusing to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement, Juncker said there was little to be gained in changing the country’s leadership. May continues to face pressure from her MPs to resign after one of her senior ministers quit the Cabinet on Wednesday night. Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom stepped down over the Prime Minister’s Brexit policy.
Several Cabinet ministers also said she could stay in her post. Asked whether the UK should hold a second Brexit vote, Juncker said: “I would like to say yes to a second referendum. But the result might not be any different. We are observers in a British stadium — it’s up for them to decide.”