Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission during the Brexit referendum, believes he could have stopped the British from voting Leave if he had not been asked to “shut up” during the campaign.
Juncker, a former prime minister of the city-state of Luxembourg, which enjoys outsized influence in the European Union, told the i that “I should not have listened to David Cameron,” the then-Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
“I made a mistake because I did not defend the EU’s point of view in the UK. They asked me to shut up, so I shut up,” he complained.
The 66-year-old suggested that Cameron should have made more of the provisional reforms he secured to Britain’s relationship — comprised largely of an entirely cosmetic acknowledgement that the United Kingdom was not committed to further EU integration and the right to temporarily suspend the payment of non-contributory in-work benefits to newly-arrived EU migrant workers.
Juncker, a strong admirer of the communist extremist Karl Marx, went on to claim, somewhat bizarrely, that the Brexit vote was “ahistorical”, as well as a product of “brainwashing”.
“This brainwashing – sometimes populist, sometimes demagogic, sometimes planned – against the EU meant that British people voted for Brexit,” he claimed.
“I always respect the sovereign decision, but it was ahistorical. It went against the course of history.”
EU Chief Jean-Claude Juncker Defies Protests to Deliver Heartfelt Defence of Karl Marx https://t.co/LXTrmbYpGX
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 5, 2018
The idea that the controversial eurocrat intervening more strongly in the EU referendum in 2016 would have changed its outcome drew a mix of amusement and bemusement from some of those who campaigned for Brexit — with many of them having highlighted the (in)famously abrasive eurocrat’s power over Britain through the EU institutions as one of the arguments for leaving.
“[T]he idea that the Remain campaign could have benefited from the Eurocrat-in-chief lecturing Britons on why the EU was a great thing is far-fetched,” remarked Patrick O’Flynn, a former Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the UK Independence Party (UKIP), in an article for the Telegraph.
“Time and again in his ‘State of the [European] Union’ speeches in the parliament, Juncker would deliver weaponry for us Leave campaigners, once referring to a provision in the Lisbon Treaty for moving away from national vetoes and to more qualified majority voting as ‘hidden treasure’ and generally talking up the need for ‘more Europe’,” he recalled.
Indeed, Brexit champion Nigel Farage himself remarked in late 2015 he wanted to “buy Juncker some champagne” after he had said, perhaps not entirely intentionally, that he did not think Britain needed the EU.
I want to buy Juncker some champagne. His statement: ‘I don’t think Britain needs the European Union’ is spot on! http://t.co/7oQ5sLWyKg
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) October 14, 2015