Jean-Claude Juncker: The EU interferes too much
The European Union has “lost its attractiveness” because it interferes too much in people’s lives, Jean-Claude Juncker has admitted.
The EU Commission president also acknowledged that the bloc is losing “economic clout” because of the falling European population.
Mr Juncker gave his frank assessment during a meeting of parliamentarians at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg amid concerns that the UK's referendum could hurt the Union.
He told Tory MP Nigel Evans: “You are right in saying the European project has lost parts of its attractiveness.”
Mr Juncker also pointed out that the Commission had only launched 23 new laws so far in 2016 as opposed to the average of 136 in other years.
He said: "The Commission is doing less. I think that one of the reasons that European citizens are stepping away from the European project is that we are interfering in too many domains of their private lives, and too many domains where the member states are better placed to take action and pass legislation.”
“We were wrong in over-regulating and interfering too much in the daily lives of our citizens, and we were wrong insufficiently to respect subsidiarity.
“At the end of this century, four per cent of ten billion citizens will be European. We are losing economic clout in a very visible way with the low birth rate.”
Elsewhere in the address, Mr Juncker rejected claims that Angela Merkel is too powerful: “The idea that other member states would be kowtowing to Germany; I’ve a long European career behind me. I have never observed that Germany be more demanding toward countries vis-a-vis Greece than other countries.
"This has been cultivated and others fall in line to shrug off their own responsibilities.”