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EU to Trump: Mess With Brexit And We’ll Mess With Texas

European Commission PresidentJean-Claude Juncker hit back atDonald Trump’s support for the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union, joking that he would champion American states that wanted to secede from the union.
Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, looks on during a news conference at a meeting of 27 European Union (EU) leaders in Brussels, Belgium, on Wednesday, June 29, 2016. European Union leaders called for an orderly British withdrawal from the bloc to minimize instability as they pledged to learn lessons from the U.K.'s political earthquake and do better at serving their citizens. Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

“The newly elected U.S. president was happy thatBrexit was taking place and was asking other countries to do the same,” Juncker told delegates from his pan-EU Christian Democrat group in Malta. “If he goes on like that, I’m going to promote the independence of Ohio and Austin, Texas, in the United States.”

Behind the humor, there’s real anger among EU chiefs that President Trump has stoked the Brexit fire and, with it, egged on other countries to follow the U.K.’s lead.

Leaders from the European People’s Party, including German ChancellorAngela Merkel and EU President Tusk, were meeting a day after Prime MinisterTheresa May officially notified the bloc that Britain is withdrawing, starting two years of negotiations.

‘New Beginning’

“Brexit isn’t the end of everything, we must consider it to be a new beginning,” Juncker said.

The U.K.’s decision will make the EU “more determined,” Tusk said, adding that the bloc would remain “united in the future, also during the difficult negotiations” with the U.K.

While Merkel didn’t mention Brexit in her speech directly, she also chose to focus on unity.

“Many people are saying the world and Europe are going a bit off the rails,” said Merkel, who as leader of the EU’s largest economy will have the biggest say on the final deal the bloc strikes with the U.K. “If we act together in Europe, we can do it much better than if we do things on our own in a world that isn’t sleeping.”

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