NIGEL Farage this afternoon branded Jean-Claude Juncker a “fool” after the EU boss extraordinarily threatened to promote the break-up of the US in retaliation for Donald Trump’s support for Brexit.
The former Ukip leader said the chief eurocrat did “not understand” the difference between the European project and the United States after he made the outlandish remarks in a speech today.
Addressing the annual conference of his centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) in Malta, Mr Juncker said he would campaign for Ohio and Texas to leave the US if Mr Trump did not change his tune towards the EU.
The comments provoked controversy globally after being reported by express.co.uk and come at a time when relations between Brussels and Washington are still tense over the Republican’s eurosceptic views.
They are also likely to be met with some bemusement by US diplomats, given that the new administration has done little in recent weeks to draw such significant ire from the Brussels boss.
Reacting to the speech Mr Farage, who has become a close personal friend of the US President, told express.co.uk: “Juncker has made a complete fool of himself.
“He clearly does not understand the difference between the EU and the United States of America. One was formed by consent while the other is being imposed.
“The US is an organically formed nation with a single language and similar culture while the cultural and linguistic differences in the EU are immense.
“If this is what Juncker calls diplomacy, he needs to take a long hard look at himself.”
The comments by Mr Juncker are by far the most outspoken intervention any senior EU figure has made about Mr Trump and are likely to dismay some European leaders who were hoping to seek a policy of rapprochement with their most important ally.
They will be seen as totally inexplicable at a time when EU-US relations appeared to be on the mend, with Vice-President Mike Pence having completed a largely successful trip to Brussels and the commander-in-chief himself significantly softening his tone towards the EU project.
The remarks did not appear to be made in jest and drew some applause for the party faithful, coming in the middle of an angry speech in which he railed against critics of the EU Commission.
During his speech Mr Juncker said: “Brexit isn’t the end. A lot of people would like it that way, even people on another continent where the newly elected US President was happy that the Brexit was taking place and has asked other countries to do the same.
“If he goes on like that I am going to promote the independence of Ohio and Austin, Texas in the US.”
This week White House spokesman Sean Spicer described the US President as a “leader in the effort to call Brexit”, but other than that there has been little from Washington in recent weeks to prompt Mr Juncker’s outburst.
Indeed, after initial hostility Mr Trump had significantly softened his views on the European project, saying in an interview last month it was “wonderful” and he was “in favour of it”.