EU not 'in danger of death' if Britain leaves: Juncker

16th June 2016, Comments 0 comments

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker insisted Thursday that the EU will not be killed off if Britain votes to leave but said lessons would have to be learned.

His comments came as two new opinion polls indicated that a majority of British voters want to leave the bloc in the referendum which is to be held in just a week's time.

"If Britain is leaving the European Union, this will open a period of major uncertainty, both in Britain and in European Union and on a more global level and this should be avoided," Juncker told an economic forum in Russia's second city, Saint Petersburg.

"I don't think that the European Union will be in danger of death if Britain leaves because we continue the process of closer cooperation in Europe."

But Juncker also said the bloc would have to learn lessons not only from events in Britain but from the rest of Europe, adding: "This euroscepticism is not only present in Britain."

European Council President Donald Tusk, speaking on a visit to Helsinki, said it would be a "huge mistake" for both Britain and the EU if the Brexit camp wins.

"The EU will survive, I have no doubt, it is still much easier to survive when you are 27 member states than completely alone."

But he added: "The cost will be very high also for us."

An opinion poll published by Survation found 52 percent want to leave and 48 percent want to stay, while an Ipsos Mori survey put the two sides at 53 percent and 47 percent, excluding voters who are undecided.

"I know it's very difficult for us to be optimistic today, we know the latest polls," Tusk said, but added: "Leaving now does not make any sense."

Tusk had warned on Monday that it Britain votes to leave on June 23, it would spell the "destruction" of Western political civilisation.

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© 2016 AFP

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