Brexit: Boris Johnson is a ‘tough guy’ says Jean-Claude Juncker
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The ex-European Commission president insisted eurocrats shouldn’t act in the “spirit of revenge” for our historical decision to quit the Brussels project. Mr Juncker’s call for calm comes at a time when heated tensions between the EU and UK risk sparking a diplomatic crisis. In recent months, his successor Ursula von der Leyen has threatened to blockade shipments of Covid vaccines headed for our shores and a trade war over Brexit rules for Northern Ireland.
Mr Juncker said: “British citizens have taken the historical decision to step away from European integration. That has been done, we have to respect that decision.
“And, frankly, we need a relationship with Britain.”
The Luxembourger recalled his pitch for a “fair deal” for the UK, adding: “I think these two entities, Britain on the one side and the European Union on the other side, don’t have the right to forget they have a common history.”
Mr Juncker, who served as European Commission president between 2014-2019, has previously called for tensions between Brussels and London to be cooled.
In March, he said the bloc would be foolish to trigger a vaccine war with Britain – and called on bosses to back down.
He said: “I don’t think that this is the right way.
“We have to pull back from a vaccine war.
“Nobody in Britain, nobody in Europe understands why we are witnessing such a stupid vaccines war.
“We are not in a war, and we are not enemies. We are allies.”
Mr Juncker branded EU threats to block shipments of jabs as “stupid” and warned of “major reputational damage” to the bloc.
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More recently, eurocrats have threatened to slap trade tariffs on British exports unless Boris Johnson complies with their post-Brexit rules for Northern Ireland.
But yesterday it emerged Brussels is close to surrender in the sausage war, according to an EU insider.
EU chiefs are said to be considering plans to offer more time before imposing a blockade on sales of chilled meats from Britain to Northern Ireland.
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The move comes after Brexit minister Lord Frost proposed extending the grace period on EU red tape to protect the NI peace process.
He told MPs: “I still hold out some hope they might agree.”
One EU insider told Express.co.uk: “We’re obviously not against it.”
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