Juncker has thrown cold water on Theresa May's plans to leave the EU within two years
The European Commission president said: "I do not think… we will succeed within 24 months to clear up the arrangements for Britain's exit from the EU and to (forge) the whole relationship between Britain and the European continent.”
Speaking at the International Munich Security Conference on Thursday, the Brussels chief’s comments are likely to frustrate many Brexiteers who want Britain to leave the EU as soon as possible.
I do not think… we will succeed within 24 months to clear up the arrangements for Britain's exit from the EU and to (forge) the whole relationship between Britain and the European continent
With the Article 50 Bill set to be debated by the House of Lords next week, Theresa May’s plan to trigger negotiations by the end of March are still on track.
Article 50 triggers the start of a two-year process, which in theory means that Britain should have left the EU by the end of March 2019.
However, Juncker’s claim that Britain will have to change more than 20,000 laws suggests plans to leave the crumbling Brussels bloc could take longer.
Theresa May is still hoping to trigger Brexit talks by the end of next month
Earlier this week, the bureaucrat begged the people of France and the Netherlands not to support populism ahead of their respective general elections later this year.
He said: "Bump your views, do not try to qualify them, say the opposite and do not repeat their slogans.
Juncker's many signs of affection
Wed, January 18, 2017
Jean-Claude Juncker is a Luxembourgish politician. Since 2014, Juncker has been President of the European Commission, which is the European Union Executive Branch.
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“If you want to reduce populism you should not repeat the same message."
The future of the EU could be in doubt with leading candidates in both France and the Netherlands promising to call referendums if they win.
Juncker pictured meeting the Lithuanian PM in Brussels on Thursday
Front National’s Marine Le Pen, who is leading the polls in France, has been a strong critic of the bloc and vowed to call an EU referendum “within six months” if she wins the election in May.
Meanwhile Geert Wilders said his first announcement as prime minister would be to call a vote on whether to leave the Brussels bloc and follow in Britain’s footsteps earlier today.
He said: “The European Union is a political bureaucratic organisation that took away our identity and our national sovereignty.
“So, I would get rid of the European Union and be a nation-state again."