EC chief floats idea of British exit from EU

Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:59AM

The European Commission (EC)’s President Jean-Claude Juncker has for the first time publicly suggested that the UK may have to exit the European Union (EU).

Speaking in the French capital, Paris, on the weekend, Juncker suggested that it is time for Britain to part ways from the 28-member bloc.

“People shouldn’t stay together if conditions aren’t the same as when things started,” said Juncker.

The EC president also rejected UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans to change the EU’s free movement law in a bid to limit migration from other EU countries, saying it was a “red line” issue.

“When one mentioned the end of the free circulation of workers, there can be no debate, dialogue or compromise,” said Juncker, adding that “the EU won’t change the treaties to satisfy the whim of certain politicians.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also warned last November that the UK runs the risk of leaving the EU if London insists on curbing immigration from other member states. Merkel has reportedly told Cameron that he was reaching a “point of no return” by pushing the issue.

Cameron’s Conservative Party, which is under growing pressure from the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP), has said that it will try to cap immigration if re-elected in the May general elections.

The UK’s prime minister is calling for a renegotiation of Britain’s EU membership terms, saying that the reforms are crucial to persuading Britain to stay in the bloc. Cameron has also vowed to hold an in-out vote on the country’s EU membership by 2017.

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