October 1, 2018 / 5:38 PM / a year ago

British seem to think the EU is quitting the UK - Juncker

FILE PHOTO - European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker arrives for the informal meeting of European Union leaders in Salzburg, Austria, September 20, 2018. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

BERLIN (Reuters) - The discussion in Britain over its departure from the European Union is still far removed from reality, the European Commission’s President Jean-Claude Juncker said at a public forum in the German city of Freiburg.

“Sometimes I have the impression that the British think that it’s us quitting Great Britain, but it’s exactly the other way around,” he said to laughs from an audience of several thousand, adding that the British public had never properly been informed about the consequences of quitting the bloc.

“There never was a real referendum campaign in Britain in the sense of an information campaign,” he said when asked about the possibility of a second British vote on EU membership. “The British, including government ministers, are only now discovering how many questions it raises.”

“If talks (on air transport) go wrong, then no more British airplanes can land on the continent. People didn’t know that, and they should probably have been told,” he said.

Juncker, a former Luxembourg prime minister, also said Brexit was “a question of the past” and that he wanted to deal with the future of the EU of 27 states.

“We are right in the middle of these difficult Brexit negotiations and I am totally for finding a good way to cooperate with the Brits as friends,” he added. “We need to keep this civil.”

Reporting by Thomas Escritt, Editing by Gabriela Baczynska

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