By saying that he would champion American states that wanted to secede from the union, the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker hit back at Donald Trump’s support for the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union.
“The newly elected U.S. president was happy that Brexit was taking place and was asking other countries to do the same,” Juncker told delegates from his pan-EU Christian Democrat group in Malta. “If he goes on like that, I’m going to promote the independence of Ohio and the exit of Texas.”
According to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, having declared itself the independent Republic of Texas in 1836 after seceding from Mexico, Texas has long been associated with autonomous leanings, whether known to Juncker or not.
Assumptions that President Trump has stoked the Brexit fire and, with it, egged on other countries to follow the U.K.’s lead and Juncker’s tone belies that anger among EU chiefs.
A day after Prime Minister Theresa May officially notified the bloc that Britain is withdrawing, starting two years of negotiations, huddled in a meeting were leaders from the European People’s Party, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU President Tusk.
“Brexit isn’t the end of everything, we must consider it to be a new beginning,” Juncker said.
Tusk said that the bloc would remain “united in the future, also during the difficult negotiations” with the U.K. and added that the U.K.’s decision will make the EU “more determined.”
Merkel also chose to focus on unity even though she didn’t mention Brexit in her speech directly.
“Many people are saying the world and Europe are going a bit off the rails,” said Merkel, who as leader of the EU’s largest economy will have the biggest say on the final deal the bloc strikes with the U.K. “If we act together in Europe, we can do it much better than if we do things on our own in a world that isn’t sleeping.
On the issue of Brexit negotiations, EU says that U.K. would only get trade talks after there is progress on Brexit bill.
For the smooth transition and sweeping free-trade deal she pitched for this week when she opened two years of Brexit negotiations, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will have to pay, the European Union signalled.
Discussions over future commercial ties would not take place until “sufficient progress” was made resolving thorny topics such as borders and budgets, EU President Donald Tusk said in draft guidelines for the talks released to the bloc’s 27 other capitals on Friday.The U.K. paying money and accepting EU laws would be first necessary for any transitional period to ease the exit, May was also told.
A quid pro quo is implied in which May gets a shot at securing tariff-free trade ties with the U.K.’s biggest market only if she quickly strikes a deal over the bill the bloc wants to impose, by the tough stance, which formalizes the previous warnings made by EU officials.
According to details of guidelines partially published in the media, the first phase of talks must “settle the disentanglement of the United Kingdom from the Union.”
(Adapted from Bloomberg)