Brexit news: Juncker attacks Leave voters with order to forget Brexit in election | UK | News

The Commission President, 64, who steps down in December, said he hopes the general election isn’t solely fought on the issue of Brexit because the UK’s divorce with the European Union has only exasperated the country’s concerns. Speaking to German radio, Mr Juncker said: “I don’t yet have any insight into the programme of the parties that are facing the voters in Great Britain. I would like that this does not turn into a Brexit election campaign. 

“Britain also has problems other than Brexit – and Brexit has made those problems worse. They’re trying to cover it up, but they just got bigger.”

The 64-year-old claimed Boris Johnson’s failed pledge to leave the EU by October 31 has raised questions whether voters can believe the Prime Minister throughout the election campaign.

Mr Juncker said: “You say before the elections: We leave on October 31, and then you don’t leave.

“This raises some questions, doesn’t it?

“So I don’t look forward to this perpetual motion of promises, promises not kept, and lies repeated over and over again.”

Despite his criticism, Mr Juncker refused to offer advice to how the Conservative party can secure a majority for the Brexit deal.

“Although I often feel like it, I have never interfered in the final decisions of voters in various European countries,” he said.

Last night the EU’s most senior official rubbished Jeremy Corbyn’s plan to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement and then put it to a referendum.

The Labour Party leader set out the baffling plan – which will offer voters a choice between Leave and Remain.

Mr Juncker said: ‘Honestly spoken, I don’t think this is a realistic approach.”

He also insisted Britain should leave the EU on January 31 without any further delays.

“I do think it will happen but this is a too-long story, it has to be brought to an end,” he said.

As Conservative politicians pledged not to extend the transition period beyond December 2020, Michel Barnier said he was unsure that a future trade deal could be completed in time.

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Speaking at an event in Lisbon, the EU negotiator said: “I know this negotiation will be difficult and demanding, for one reason the time will be extremely short, 11 months if the transition period ends as currently foreseen.

“Summer 2020 in eight months will be the first moment of truth on how far we have come and whether extension of the transition will be needed.”

He suggested a new cliff edge would emerge next summer, leaving Boris Johnson with a stark choice between no-deal Brexit or prolonging Britain’s ties with the bloc.

“As long as we have not completed negotiations with the UK the risk of a cliff edge remains and we should all remain vigilant,” he added.

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Mr Barnier stressed that Mr Johnson’s move towards a basic free-trade agreement means negotiations will be more complicated because of the bloc’s red lines.

“Our starting points are not necessarily the same,” said Mr Barnier.

“On our side that the EU will require strong level playing field guarantees, the EU will not tolerate unfair economic competition.

“The UK should not think that zero tariff, zero quotas will be enough. The EU will insist on zero tariff, zero quotas and zero dumping.”

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