Thursday

2nd Apr 2020

EU gangs up on Cameron

  • Cameron (l) and Juncker. "If someone complains about Europe from Monday to Saturday then nobody is going to believe him on Sunday when he says he is a convinced European", Juncker said (Photo: European Commission)

The French foreign minister has said that a new British prime minister should be appointed “in a few days”, hours after the European Commission chief suggested that the current PM David Cameron was responsible for Brexit.

“A new prime minister has to be appointed; that will take a few days,” Ayrault said in Berlin at a meeting of the foreign ministers of the EU’s six founding countries - Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

He said the British government “must trigger” article 50 of the EU treaty, so that talks to organise the UK’s exit from the EU can start.

“It’s a question of respect” for the EU, he said. His five colleagues also urged Cameron to accelerate the move.

Cameron on Friday said he would step down after summer and that it would be up to the next PM to “start the formal and legal process of leaving the EU”.

“We expect the UK government to provide clarity and give effect to this decision [the Brexit vote] as soon as possible,” the six ministers said in a statement.

The call for a quick handover in London came after the EU commission put the blame of the referendum result on Cameron.

“The usual reflex is for the finger to be pointed at Brussels. Yet in this case, that is completely wrong: the referendum was called by the British prime minister,” Jean-Claude Juncker said in an interview with German tabloid Bild published on Saturday.

He said Cameron did not do enough to secure the UK’s membership in the EU.

“Here in Brussels, we did everything to accommodate David Cameron's concerns,” Juncker said.

He said that he and his colleagues “spent countless days and nights” last winter on reaching an agreement on EU reform with Cameron and that he was surprised that the new deal “played no role whatsoever” in Cameron’s referendum campaign.

'Not acceptable'

“At the same time it is hardly surprising. If someone complains about Europe from Monday to Saturday then nobody is going to believe him on Sunday when he says he is a convinced European,” Juncker added, referring to Cameron’s eurosceptic profile.

Juncker’s comments come after one of his commissioners, Germany’s Gunther Oettinger, told Euronews TV on Friday that what Cameron did “is not acceptable”.

Oettinger said that after Cameron struck the EU deal last winter he gave a “clear order” that the commission should stay out of the referendum campaign.

Asked if the result was Cameron’s fault, the commissioner said: “I think so. Yes”.

EU urges UK to submit Brexit papers

Cameron does not want to apply for Brexit, but let his successor do it. That could take until October. “Any delay would unnecessarily prolong uncertainty," EU leaders have said.

Analysis

After Brexit, EU leaders start soul-searching

The general public and financial markets are waiting for the EU's response to the British shock. But when leaders meet at next week's summit, there will be more questions than answers.

EU will not press UK for immediate exit talks

EU leaders say there is a "very significant crisis" in the UK. At a summit on Tuesday, they will not press the British prime minister to trigger the procedure to leave the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. Court: Three countries broke EU law on migrant relocation
  2. Journalism hit hard by corona crisis
  3. EU fighting shortages and faulty medical supplies
  4. New EU navy operation to keep migrant details secret
  5. MEP: Constituents are our window into this tragedy
  6. Without European patriotism, EU decline is inevitable
  7. EU cancels April Fool's 'fake news'
  8. A coronavirus 'Marshall Plan' alone won't be nearly enough

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us