Brexit has been a 'waste of time and energy', says Juncker

PUBLISHED: 14:16 22 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:16 22 October 2019

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivers his speech at the European Parliament. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivers his speech at the European Parliament. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

As his time in the top job comes to a close, Jean-Claude Juncker said it has 'pained' him to spend so much time dealing with Brexit, which he described as 'a waste of time and a waste of energy'.

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In one of his final speeches in Strasbourg, the European Commission president said: "In truth, it has pained me to spend so much of this mandate dealing with Brexit when I thought of nothing less how this Union could do better for its citizens."

He added: "A waste of time and a waste of energy!"

The EU official continued: "It took a huge amount of work to arrive at this point. I listened to prime minister Johnson in the same way as I did to prime minister May.

"Once again they have shown creativity and determination."

Juncker said it was down to Westminster to approve the Brexit deal before the EU could ratify the agreement, and warned if a no-deal Brexit happened it would be Britain's fault because the EU had done all it could.

He said: "At least we can look ourselves in the eye and say that we have done all in our power to make sure that this departure is orderly."

"In the same spirit we have done everything in our power to prepare the EU for all eventualities irrespective of what is happening on the other side of the channel.

"We need now to watch events in Westminister very closely but it is not possible, not imaginable, that this parliament would ratify the agreement before Westminster ratifies this agreement.

"First London - then Brussels and Strasbourg."

"The commission has worked tirelessly to negotiate and renegotiate an agreement with the United Kingdom to respect the UK's decision to leave the European Union."

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