The president of the European Commission told a German newspaper that the future of the EU was not under threat, insisting “Britain’s example will make everyone realise that it’s not worth leaving.
“On the contrary, the remaining member states will fall in love with each other again and renew their vows with the European Union.”
The trouble is of course the European elite have ignored the wishes of their people for so long
The EU chief also said Britain would quickly have to get used to life outside the EU.
He added: “Half memberships and cherry-picking aren’t possible.
“In Europe you eat what’s on the table or you don’t sit at the table.”
But Tory MP Peter Bone has launched a stinging response to Juncker’s comments, accusing him of “living in a fool’s paradise”.
He told MailOnline: “It is like the dying words of the leader of an empire as it collapses.
“The trouble is of course the European elite have ignored the wishes of their people for so long.
“He is out of touch, living in a fool’s paradise. The problem of Brexit is entirely a problem for the EU.”
Juncker’s comments come despite a suggestion from one of his senior aides that the option for Britain to return to the EU “will always be open”.
Speaking after the EU leader’s summit in Brussels, a senior aide to the EU chief said: “There are different ways you can join. You can be a full member, you can be a partner, you can be related to us in the customs union, or through a trade agreement.”
In response to Juncker’s comments, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We have said many times we are at the start of the negotiations, and let’s see how it unfolds.”
Theresa May will not be in attendance as European leaders hold a summit later this week to mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome.