Manfred Weber, the conservative candidate to take over from Jean-Claude Juncker, complains serious mistakes were made by the European Union in the Brexit debate. The candidate for the European People’s Party has said that Europeans should have countered the Brexit campaign with a “stay with us” initiative. Mr Weber said “our silence was a mistake,” when talking about the EU’s strategy in the run-up to the referendum in June 2016.
Mr Weber, deputy chairman of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the regional conservative party, said to the Editorial Network Germany: “We should have interfered during the Brexit campaign.
“We should have said to the British: Stay with us.”
Although Brexit is a national decision, it affects all Europeans.
He added that the EU’s silence in the run up to the 2016 referendum was a “mistake”.
But now Mr Weber concedes that it is too late for interference.
He said: “The British have decided. As democrats, we have to accept that.”
In return, the British would have to live “with the negative consequences of their exit”.
He added: “But it is clear that the door of the EU remains open for Britain.”
In November the German MEP was backed as the European People’s party, Europe’s largest political group, candidate to be the successor to European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker next year.
Mr Weber hopes that Britain will agree to the withdrawal agreement negotiated by the EU Commission and Theresa May.
The Prime Minister’s allies are “confident” she can win January’s Brexit vote and swing the Commons in her favour, claiming a no deal scenario has terrified MP’s.
The source said: “It’s now very much our expectation that we can win this vote, if not the first time then the second time around.”
Mrs May has summoned her cabinet ministers from their Christmas break six days early for crunch talks on contingency plans for a possible no-deal Brexit.
On January 2, cabinet will come together in an emergency meeting led by Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay, a week before Brexit debates kick off in Parliament.