Berlin is reportedly unhappy with how Jean-Claude Juncker has handled the Brexit issue and may force him to step down, a British newspaper has reported.
The president of the European Commission “is under pressure to resign after reportedly ‘gloating’ over Britain’s departure from the EU and describing it as a chance to push for greater EU integration,” according to The Sunday Times.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is displeased with Juncker’s handling of talks with the UK in the runup to last month’s Brexit poll, and with his plans to push for fast exit negotiations, the paper said on 3 July. Merkel prefers a more flexible timeline.
The Sunday Times quoted an unnamed German cabinet minister as saying the pressure for Juncker “to resign will only become greater and chancellor Merkel will eventually have to deal with this next year”.
The Sunday Times endorsed a “Leave” vote prior to the Brexit poll.
Last month, Politico Europe, a publication widely read in Brussels, published a lengthy profile of Juncker, saying the former Luxembourg prime minister had become disengaged from his role. The article speculated that he might resign before his mandate ends in October 2019. Juncker’s chief-of-staff has dismissed that idea.
UPDATE: In response to The Sunday Times article, Elmar Brok, an MEP from Merkel’s CDU party, told EUobserver on Monday that: “Germany does not want Juncker to resign. Full stop.” The EUobserver story later said that “other EU sources believed that Merkel is biding her time”.