Jean-Claude Juncker advises against more EU exit votes

November 29, 2016 8:00 pm

European Commission President speaks during a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister and Council President after the signing of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), on October 30, 2016 at the headquarters in Brussels. (Photo by AFP)

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has advised European Union leaders against holding EU membership referendums due to fears of more Brexit-style departures.
“We can’t deny or take away the people of ’s right to express their views,” Juncker said, adding however that “regarding referenda on EU membership, I think it is not wise to organize 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.”
He also admitted that the EU suffered from “a lack of love” among the European people.
His remarks come as Austria’s presidential favorite Norbert Hofer has warned that his country could hold a British-like referendum on leaving the European Union if he took power this weekend.
“I don’t think the next president of Austria, whoever it will be, will launch themselves into this kind of escapade,” Juncker said. “I have learned to tell the difference between campaign promises and concrete policies.”
The Brexit, which sent shockwaves around the world, has raised speculations that anti-EU sentiment among the European citizens would trigger similar moves across the continent.
Far-right parties in France, the Netherlands and Italy have already called for EU exit referendums.
Juncker also ruled out the possibility that National Front party leader Marine Le Penn would be elected as France’s new president and take the country out of the EU.
 “This is a hypothesis that I do not think will come to pass. It is a question that we should not even be asking,” he noted.
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