BRUSSELS (Reuters) – BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union is not trying to keep Britain's Brexit, the head of the bloc's executive said.
FILE PHOTO: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker attends a news conference after a European Union summit leaders in Brussels, Belgium December 14, 2018. REUTERS / Eric Vidal / File Photo
"It is being insinuated that our aim is to keep the United Kingdom in the EU by all means possible. That is not our intention. All we want is clarity about our future relations. And we respect the result of the referendum. "Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the European Commission, told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag in an interview.
Juncker said the EU was ready to start negotiating a new deal with Britain. Jan. 14.
Hey, said Britain should get its act together.
"And then tell us what you want," he said.
"I'm working on the assumption that it will leave, because that's what the people of the United Kingdom have decided," he added. "That's for the British to decide."
On other challenges facing Europe, Juncker said he was watching President Donald Trump on trade.
"I trust him for as long as he keeps his word. And if he no longer keeps it, then I'll no longer feel bound by my word either, "Juncker said of tensions between the EU and Washington around car tariffs.
He said he felt EU citizens were increasingly growing apart, in May.
"We have to make these rifts do not become too deep," Juncker said. "We must not imply that the populists are right …"
He said Europe had to stand united in combating the trolls and hacker groups from China or Russia "that could seek to sway the European vote.
He expressed doubt about EU state Romania, which takes over the bloc's rotating presidency from Jan. 1, but struggles with corruption and bitter divisions.
"The government in Bucharest has not yet fully understood what it means to take over the EU Member States … Romania's internal situation is that it can not act as a compact unit in Europe," Juncker said.
Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by David Evans