Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Jean-Claude Juncker threatens to campaign for Ohio's independence in revenge for Donald Trump backing Brexit

The head of the European Commission said that if the US President continued to lobby for other countries to leave the EU he would retaliate

Chloe Farand
Friday 31 March 2017 11:27 BST
Juncker threatens to take revenge on Trump over Brexit by campaigning for Ohio to go independent

EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker has threatened to campaign for the state of Ohio to become independent from Washington if Donald Trump keeps encouraging countries to leave the European Union.

The President of the European Commission was speaking in Malta after Theresa May’s Article 50 letter was delivered to Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council.

Mr Juncker said that despite the formal beginning of the two-year Brexit process, it was “business as usual” for the EU. But he warned that if Mr Trump continues to lobby for the further destabilisation of the union, he will retaliate.

"Brexit isn't the end. A lot of people would like it that way - even people on another continent where the newly elected US president was happy that Brexit was taking place and has asked other countries to do the same.

"If he goes on like that, I am going to promote the independence of Ohio and Austin, Texas, in the United States,” he said.

The US President previously said Brexit would be “a great thing” for the UK and that a favourable trade deal with the US could tempt others to leave the EU bloc.

Mr Juncker said Brexit should be seen as a “new beginning” for the bloc and that there was much work to do including strengthening security and defence policy.

“A chicken coop is a close combat formation compared to Europe’s common defence,” he said, addressing his audience in German.

Mr Tusk, who also spoke at the meeting of leaders of the centre-right European People’s Party, said there was “something positive in Brexit” and that it would make the remaining 27 countries “more determined and more united”.

He said: "Yesterday, right after receiving the letter from Prime Minister Theresa May invoking Article 50, I said that paradoxically there's also something positive in Brexit.

"Brexit has made us, the community of 27, more determined and more united than before.

"I am fully confident of this ... and I can say that we will remain determined and united in the future, also during the difficult negotiations ahead.

“There is no alternative than a united and sovereign Europe."

The European Parliament President, Antonio Tajani, also called for unity at a time when the EU is facing division.

"Economic crisis, immigration, terrorism, Brexit, the responsibility of the EPP (European People's Party) is most important responsibility. We need to work all together, we need to be united,” he said.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in