LONDON (AA) – A war of words has broken out between former London mayor Boris Johnson and the European Commission president over claims of populism in Britain’s referendum campaign.
Speaking to Sky News on Thursday in response, Johnson said: “I'm afraid what I am saying to the British people is in line with reality, and if we vote to remain – which I sincerely hope we don't – then they will go on with measures that will take us further into a federal European super state.
"The whole exercise in Europe is now aimed at propping up the euro, that is the entire mission of the European Union. They will try to create a fiscal union, a political union.”
Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker had said Johnson was not “in line with reality” after he made a series of strongly-worded attacks on the European Union, including once comparing the 28-country bloc’s ambitions for continental unity to those of Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler.
Juncker said Johnson – a lead figure in the pro-Brexit campaign – should come to Brussels “in order to check in Brussels if everything he’s telling the British people is in line with reality.
“I don't think so, so he would be welcome in Brussels at any time,” he said in remarks to journalists at the G7 summit in Japan.
Johnson continued Thursday by arguing Germany would insist on a structure of economic governance for Europe that will “tend towards a mission of a United States of Europe, into which Britain will be sucked. I'm afraid we have not been able to get out from under the obligation for paying for this whole enterprise.”
Britain has a little under a month of campaigning to go until the June 23 referendum in which voters will be asked whether they want to remain in or leave the EU. The latest opinion surveys gave the Remain camp a small lead, although many voters remain undecided.