News / International
EU President threatens to promote independence of US states
30 Mar 2017 at 22:22hrs | Views
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Thursday he would promote the independence of U.S. states if Donald Trump continues to encourage EU countries to follow the U.K.'s example and leave the bloc, the Politico reported.
At a meeting of leaders of the center-right European People's Party in Malta, Juncker said Brexit would not be the end of the European Union — even if some people, such as Trump, would like that outcome.
In response to White House claims that Trump was "a leader on Brexit," Juncker declared: "If that continues, I'll call for Ohio to be independent and Texas to leave the United States."
Juncker's remarks came a day after Britain formally notified the EU that it intended to depart.
"Brexit should be the beginning of something new, something better," Juncker said. "We need to continue."
Juncker added that there was much for the 27 remaining EU members to do, including strengthening security and defense policy. "A chicken coop is a close combat formation compared to Europe's common defense," he said, speaking in German.
Also at the meeting, European Council President Donald Tusk shook off the Brexit blues he had expressed on Wednesday to declare: "Brexit has made us more determined and more united than ever before. I am fully confident of this."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for unity when it comes to securing external borders, fighting root causes of migration and staying firm on Russia. Among other things, that meant defending Ukraine's territorial integrity and leading Western Balkan countries "step by step" into the EU.
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković urged the EU to "extend a helping hand" towards Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro. "If we are slow, others will not be hesitant, others will be present, and they will drift away from us," he said.
Merkel defended last year's migration deal with Turkey and talks with African countries aiming at a similar approach — a rebuttal of Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who had harshly criticized the EU's refugee policy earlier in the day.
"We Central Europeans expect that — if things continue like this — there will be a dominant Muslim presence in Western Europe," Orbán said. "Migration turned out to be the Trojan Horse of terrorism."
Source - politico.eu