EU Head to Trump: Stop Applauding Brexit or 'I'll Promote Ohio's Independence'

Jean-Claude Juncker says he's irked that Trump 'was happy that Brexit was taking place' and advises every leader to focus on his or her own job ahead.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker attends a meeting on 'The Future of Europe' in light of Brexit, Valletta, Malta, March 29, 2017.
DARRIN ZAMMIT LUPI/REUTERS

The head of the European Commission warned U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday that if he doesn't stop applauding Brexit and backing the principle of EU defections, he'll hit back.

Referring to Trump, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said at a congress of his EPP Christian Democrat group that "if he goes on like that, I am going to promote the independence of Ohio and Austin, Texas."

Juncker said he has been irked that Trump "was happy that Brexit was taking place and has asked other countries to do the same" and advised that every leader should focus on his or her own job ahead.

Germany's foreign minister said that Britain's future trading relationship with the European Union will inevitably be less advantageous than the arrangement it has as a member.

Britain plans to leave the EU's internal market but also wants trade to be as free as possible. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told the German parliament on Thursday: "It is clear that a partnership outside the European Union, as the United Kingdom is striving for, must necessarily be less than membership."

Gabriel added: "A free trade agreement, however far-reaching and innovative it is, is inevitably less trade-friendly than the barrier-free internal market. He stressed that "the internal market is not an a la carte menu."

The minister also said that there will be no "British rebate" when it comes to defending the European Union's interests in the upcoming divorce negotiations with London.