Juncker part of the problem, not the solution - Nicholson

Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has called for Brexit negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom to be carried out in a reasoned manner, in the understanding that the EU needs a good deal from the UK, and the UK needs a good deal from the EU.

Speaking after the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker gave his annual “State of the Union” address to MEPs in Strasbourg on Wednesday, Mr. Nicholson said:

“In the aftermath of the referendum I said that cool heads were needed during Brexit negotiations. After what we witnessed in the European Parliament plenary chamber today, I am even more convinced of the need for such an approach from all sides.

“Both EU federalists such as Mr Juncker and the outgoing Ukip leader Nigel Farage have used the Brexit vote, and today’s debate, as an excuse to launch a sham fight between Brussels and London.  Both men from different ends of the political spectrum have repeatedly called for Brexit negotiations to begin as quickly as possible. The European Union needs a good deal with the UK, and the UK needs a good deal with the EU. This will take time. It is not a zero-sum game and chest beating over the vote - whether it is from senior Brussels officials or the Ukip benches - benefits no one.

“More broadly, it seems that Mr Juncker and his friends have not learned anything from the Brexit vote. He had a chance today to set Europe in the direction of less centralisation, less bureaucracy and greater reform. Instead, we heard the same mantra of “more Europe”. It is clear that Mr Juncker is part of the problem, not part of the solution.”

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