- Commission president says teams from EU, U.K. in close contact
- He urges prime minister to offer more detailed proposals
Jean-Claude Juncker signaled that British Prime Minister David Cameron must offer more detailed proposals in order to advance the renegotiation of U.K. ties with the rest of the European Union.
“Our negotiation teams are in close contact for weeks now,” Juncker, president of the European Commission, said on Wednesday in Brussels. “I can’t say that huge progress has been achieved, I can’t say that nothing has been achieved, but to tango it takes two.”
With Cameron committed to holding an in-or-out referendum on U.K. membership of the EU once the talks on repatriating powers are finished, Juncker repeated his support for Britain staying in the 28-nation bloc.
“I am 150 percent in favor of having Britain as a constructive member state of the European Union; we need Britain,” he said. “Personally, I do think Britain needs the European Union, but that’s a matter of conviction. Others may have a different feeling on that; they will have the same feeling if ever Britain would leave the European Union, but that’s not the assumption under which I am working.”
Juncker has for months pledged a willingness to meet British demands as long as they don’t impinge on fundamental EU principles such as the free movement of workers. In his remarks on Wednesday, which were made to the European Parliament, he reiterated a readiness to be flexible.
“I want, we want, the commission wants a fair deal with Britain and we are working in that direction,” Juncker said.