Jean-Claude Juncker is already perfectly aware that British Prime Minister Theresa May is a “tough lady,” the president of the European Commission said on Wednesday.
“I deeply respect the British prime minister, I like her as a person, I have noticed she’s a tough lady so this is not for the future, this is a real-time description,” Juncker told reporters.
The U.K. prime minister told the BBC on Tuesday that she will be a “bloody difficult woman” when dealing with Juncker in the coming Brexit negotiations. “During the Conservative Party leadership campaign I was described by one of my colleagues as a bloody difficult woman. And I said at the time the next person to find that out will be Jean-Claude Juncker,” she argued.
At a news conference with Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, Juncker rejected comments from Britain’s Brexit Secretary David Davis that, if the U.K. had to walk away without a trade deal with the EU, there would be “nothing to pay.” Davis cited former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s famous rebate on the U.K.’s contribution to the EU budget, saying: “When Mrs. Thatcher walked away she got the rebate.”
Juncker responded: “I don’t think that Davis was right when he was threatening that he would be ready to go out. My experience in politics always was that those who are going out have to come back.”