H/t reader squodgy:
“If this gets out over Europe, the peasants will be revolting.”
JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER has begged EU leaders not to hold in-out referendums because he fears it will backfire and voters will choose to LEAVE.
The beleaguered European Commission president gave the desperate cry to members as the EU superstate dream slips from Brussels’ grasp following Britain’s momentous Brexit vote.
Terrified Mr Juncker admitted he knows European’s have a “lack of love” for the Brussels club.
His desperate plea come as Austria’s presidential favourite, Norbert Hofer, threatened to hold a referendum to cut ties with the crumbling bloc if he takes power this weekend.
Jean-Claude Juncker said: “We can’t deny or take away the people of Europe’s right to express their views.
“Regarding referenda on EU membership, I think it is not wise to organise this kind of debate, not only because I might be concerned about the final result but because this will pile more controversy onto the huge number already present at the heart of the EU.
“Besides, I don’t think the next president of Austria, whoever it will be, will launch themselves into this kind of escapade.
“I have learned to tell the difference, between campaign promises and concrete policies.”
The bureaucrat insisted “the existence of the EU is not in doubt” but admitted its weakness is “a lack of love” among the EU’s millions of voters.
His remarks are just the latest salvo between competing visions for the EU’s future, with politicians locked in a battle to determine its direction post-Brexit.
There are currently deep divides at the heart of the EU over how to proceed with the project in light of Britain’s decision to turn its back on the 27-member bloc.
Some figures have cautioned against trying to force through further political integration, warning that to do so against the wishes of the European people will only fuel further Eurosceptic feeling.
With support for the EU at an all time low, Austria, Italy, Holland and France are all facing votes, which could lead to their own version of Brexit in the next 12 months.
But the EU boss refused to accept the possibility Front National party leader Marine Le Penn could win the Presidency in France and take her country out of the EU.
He said: “This is a hypothesis that I do not think will come to pass. It is a question that we should not even be asking.”
And after criticism of his hardline rhetoric calling for Britain to be punished he toned down his language and asked for a more measured approach.
He said: “The British have had their say by universal suffrage. I hope others do not do the same. “But, regarding the UK, we must not come at this in the spirit of revenge. We must sort out the problems this has caused for the UK and for Europeans.
“We will make sure relations between the British Isles and the continent remain harmonious, all the while knowing that the British cannot have the same rights and advantages as citizens of the European Union.”
His comments came as a leading thinktank – the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) – which played a part in Project Fear has been forced to put out a more positive prediction about Brexit Britain following its economic success after the historic vote.
However, the OECD still claimed that there was a long term gloomy outlook for the country after similar assessments last week by other “Project Fear” organisations – the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
The thinktank raised its projections for Britain’s gross domestic product (GDP) from 1.8 per cent to two per cent for this year and from one per cent to 1.2 per cent for 2017.
It expects UK growth to hit one per cent in 2018.
In an attempt to paint a gloomy prediction, it said the Bank of England’s moves to shore up the economy since the EU referendum result have boosted consumer confidence, but rising inflation would squeeze purchasing power, causing unemployment to rise as growth slows.
It also warned that while Britain is expecting to be handed the best trading terms with other countries post-2019, there is still “considerable uncertainty about this”.
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