Following the UK referendum on the country’s future in the European Union, there are increasing pressures for President of the European Commission, Jean Claude-Juncker, to step down, with Prague calling for him to „change the habits“ of the institution. Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek commented that he was no longer the “right man for the job”, suggesting that someone in Brussels should assume „responsibility“ for the Brexit poll in the UK. EU Commission chief’s spokesperson, Margaritas Schinas, responded that the answer to whether Mr Juncker will resign was in two letters and the first one was „N“. Mrs Schinas added that “the ones who must draw conclusions from this are the ones who called the referendum”.
Unlike the Czech Republic, other Central European countries said they were not planning to call for Mr Juncker“s resignation but one admitted that it may support such a motion at a two-day EU summit in Brussels on 28 June – “if there was such a motion”. “The situation is changing by the hour. We need to send messages to our public that ‘yes’, we can change Brussels, so that it listens. There were many things done wrong and we must talk about that openly,” a diplomat from a Central European country commented.
Mr Juncker has been criticized mostly for his harsh comments he made on Brexit – saying “out is out” – and his push to start the application of Article 50 as soon as possible. In contrast, Angela Merkel thinks that the UK should be given time to trigger the article, which would initiate two years of negotiations. It is likely that European Council President Donald Tusk will lead the talks with the Commission only having a back seat role.