Top EU official: 'A mistake' to have not interfered with Brexit campaign

Top EU official: 'A mistake' to have not interfered with Brexit campaign
© Getty Images

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday said that his biggest error during his tenure was not interfering in the United Kingdom Brexit vote. 

“It was a mistake not to intervene and not to interfere because we would have been the only ones to destroy the lies which were circulated around. I was wrong to be silent at an important moment,” he said during a news conference in Belgium, according to Reuters.  

ADVERTISEMENT

Juncker also rebuked the British government at the time, including then-Prime Minister David Cameron, for encouraging him to stay out of the referendum vote. 

“The second mistake I made was to listen too carefully to the British government. Cameron. Because the then prime minister asked me not to interfere, not to intervene in the referendum campaign,” he said. 

Cameron promised a vote on Britain's European Union (EU) membership in order to prevent supporters from leaving his conservative party. He campaigned against the measure, then resigned after British citizens voted to leave the EU. 

When asked about the possibility of the country remaining in the EU, Junker quipped “nobody understands England but everybody understands English,” according to the wire service.

“Either they will stay or they will leave,” he added. “If they stay they stay; if they leave they leave.”

British Prime Minister Theresa MayTheresa Mary MayConservative British politician suspended after video shows him grabbing female climate protester by neck EU leaders won't renegotiate Brexit deal Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt head to runoff to be UK's next prime minister MORE has been scrambling to put together a Brexit deal, but the country's Parliament has consistently voted down her exit plans. The EU has already given her deadline extensions for a deal. Last month, she asked the body to give her until June 30 to come up with a new deal.