Published On: Tue, Oct 22nd, 2019

Brexit news: Furious Juncker lashes out at Westminster quagmire | UK | News

Speaking in the European Parliament, the European Commission chief said it has “pained” him to spend much of his five-year term in charge of the bloc dealing with Britain’s divorce. Recalling his time at the helm of the Brussels project, Mr Juncker said: “In truth, it has pained me to spend so much of this mandate dealing with Brexit when I thought of nothing less how this Union could do better for its citizens.” He added: “A waste of time and a waste of energy!”

Mr Juncker told MEPs that the new Brexit deal “creates legal certainty”.

“It took a huge amount of work to arrive at this point. I listened to Prime Minister Johnson in the same way as I did to Prime Minister May,” he said.

“Once again they have shown creativity and determination.

“At least we can look ourselves in the eye and say that we have done all in our power to make sure that this departure is orderly.”

Diplomats, officials and MEPs should now focus their attention to the Brexit debate in Westminster before the ratification process can be completed by the EU, he said.

Mr Juncker added: “In the same spirit we have done everything in our power to prepare the EU for all eventualities irrespective of what is happening on the other side of the channel.

“We need now to watch events in Westminister very closely but it is not possible, not imaginable, that this parliament would ratify the agreement before Westminster ratifies this agreement.

“First London – then Brussels and Strasbourg.”

Donald Tusk, the EU Council’s president, told MEPs he has begun work consulting leaders on the UK’s Article 50 extension request.

He said: “The situation is quite complex following events over the weekend in the UK and the British request for an extension of the Article 50 process.

“I am consulting the leaders on how to react and will decide on the coming days.

“It is obvious that the result of these consultations will very much depend on what the British Parliament decides or doesn’t decide.

“We should be ready for every scenario. But, one thing should be clear, as I said to Prime Minister Johnson on Saturday: A no-deal Brexit will never be our decision.”

Mr Tusk said the new Brexit agreement is “based on the deal that we agreed with the previous government”.

He added: “Prime Minister Johnson’s acceptance to have customs checks on the points of entry into Northern Ireland will allow us to avoid border checks between Ireland and Northern Ireland and will ensure integrity of the single market.

“The revised deal was possible and acceptable to the EU because firstly, it has support of Ireland and secondly, the support of the European Commission… It avoids a chaotic disorderly Brexit.”

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