European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in Strasbourg that he « would like » to see the UK return to the EU after Brexit, even if this proposal will not be considered by London.
But President Juncker said: “I noticed that in London, they have reacted almost upset at this reaction. Be it as it may, once the British have left under Article 50 there is still Article 49 which allows a return to membership and I would like that. I would like us now to treat each other with respect and not abandon each other.”
This is the second time in two days that President Juncker is addressing the British, after an intervention from the President of the European Council Donald Tusk the day before, also before MEPs.
Tusk reiterated that if London does not change its positions, from the end of March 2019 it “will be a third country” compared to the rest of the EU. At the same time, however, Tusk said that the UK has still time to change their minds. During the plenary session he said: “our hearts are still open”. Meanwhile, according to a draft of the negotiating directives, the EU will ask the United Kingdom to guarantee the rights enjoyed by European citizens for the entire transition period after Brexit, which should last until the end of 2020.
Among those who have spoken of a willingness to help Britain stay or to rejoin have been French President Emmanuel Macron. Asked about the current debate, one of his advisers said on Wednesday that France would still welcome a change of heart.
Maria Elena Argano
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