Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, said the European Union could not continue to rely on the United States for its defense, according to an interview published in an Austrian newspaper.
Speaking about the state of the EU, Juncker said that Europeans’ views of the bloc were improving, but that the region could not turn to the United States for its future protection.
“It becomes clear that we cannot, in the long-term, rely on American defense support,” Juncker told Tiroler Tageszeitung, a newspaper in Austria where he is on vacation.
The Commission president added that Britain’s decision to leave the EU had galvanized support among the remaining countries in the bloc.
A survey published Friday suggested that voters in eight European countries — France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Sweden — were now more likely to see EU membership as an advantage for their country than before Britain’s Brexit referendum last summer. The study was commissioned by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, a Berlin-based think tank with ties to the German Social Democrats.
“The British Brexit decision was seen by many in Europe as an appeal to close the ranks,” Juncker said. “None of the 27 member states have collapsed.”
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