Even Jean-Claude Juncker admits the EU meddles too much – as ex-US finance chiefs plead to prevent Brexit
One of the EU’s biggest defenders has admitted Brussels meddles too much – despite pleading for Britain to stay in.
Jean-Claude Juncker spoke out as the debate ramped up two months before polls open in the historic In/Out referendum.
The President of the European Commission insisted the vast bureaucracy had cleaned up its act over the concerns.
And his comments came as eight ex-US Treasury Secretaries joined forces to warn Brexit will strike at the heart of the Special Relationship.
But eurosceptics seized on the comments as proof of the EU’s flaws from the horse’s mouth.
European Union handout photo of Jean-Claude Juncker receiving Prime Minister David Cameron at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.
Mr Juncker made the comments to British MPs during a session of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.
“You are right in saying the European project has lost parts of its attractiveness,” he said, according to the Daily Mail.
“I think that one of the reasons that European citizens are stepping away from the European project is that we are interfering in too many domains of their private lives.
“And too many domains where the member states are better placed to take action and pass legislation.”
Mr Juncker insisted the commission was “doing less” now in the face of such concerns.
Barack Obama’s ex-Treasury chief Timothy F. Geithner (left) joined 8 sounding the alarm
Today eight former US Treasury Secretaries from four decades of White House control warned of the dangers of leaving the EU.
The finance chiefs under Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George Bush Jr and Barack Obama warned Brexit would be “a risky bet on the country’s economic future”.
In a joint article for The Times, they added: “The special relationship between the United States and Britain has been at the heart of US economic and foreign policy throughout the post-war period.
“In more recent years, whether leading the response to the financial crisis or confronting Russian aggression in Ukraine, Britain has played a leading and critical role in building a European consensus for action.
Michael Gove went on the EU rampage yesterday
“The uncertainty surrounding Brexit already appears to be acting as a drag on investment and market sentiment, and a vote to leave could introduce an extended period of uncertainty that could hinder growth even further.”
Pro- Brexit Michael Gove dominated the debate yesterday by warning Brits were like “hostages locked in the back of the car” and saying the EU could undermine MI5 work.
Former attorney general Dominic Grieve blasted the Justice Secretary’s “unfounded” claims, adding: “He is no longer seeing the wood for the trees”.
And former World Trade Organisation chief Pascal Lamy said: “The notion that you exit the EU trade-wise with no price is simply a lie”.
He told the BBC’s Newsnight: “If you are part of the European Union you belong to European single market.
David Cameron is facing a Cabinet battle to reunite his warring Tories after June 23
“[That] means you have free access to the whole 500 million consumers plus countries outside EU for which EU has negotiated privileged access for the price of them getting access to this big market.
“So if you’re in, that’s the privileges you have. If you’re out you lose these privileges, you lose preferred access to EU market which is roughly 50% of UK trade.
“You lose privileged access to Canada, Mexico and a series of other countries which is probably 15% more of UK trade, so you lose privileged access you have for 65% of your exports.
“You export less, you produce less. You have less trade, less exports and less jobs. This is something that will never work. It’s pie in the sky.”