Frans Timmermans, 58, compared British negotiators to Corporal Jones shouting ‘Don’t panic, don’t panic!’
Brussels believed the UK would produce Harry Potter-style wizardry in
Frans Timmermans, the European Commission vice president, also accused
Mr Timmermans said in an interview with BBC1’s Panorama, which will be broadcast tomorrow night, British negotiators reminded him of Lance Corporal Jones in comedy classic Dad’s Army, as they were ‘running around like idiots’.
In the interview, which was recorded in March, Mr Timmermans said: ‘We thought they are so brilliant that in some vault somewhere in Westminster there will be a Harry Potter-like book with all the tricks and all the things in it to do.
‘And then the first time I saw public utterances by David Davis and I saw him not coming, not negotiating, grandstanding elsewhere I thought: “Oh my God they haven’t got a plan, they haven’t got a plan”.
‘That was really shocking frankly because the damage if you don’t have a plan – you know, we see it – time’s running out and you don’t have a plan, it’s like Lance Corporal Jones, you know, “Don’t panic, don’t panic!”, running around like idiots.’
Mr Timmermans also said he was not sure Mr Johnson was ‘being genuine’ in his approach to the EU while foreign secretary.
He said: ‘I always had the impression he was playing games.’
Mr Timmermans said that after watching David Davis (right) he concluded ‘Oh my God they haven’t got a plan’, and compared British negotiators to Corporal Jones (left, played by Clive Dunn) of Dad’s Army shouting: ‘Don’t panic, don’t panic!’
The vice president – who was a leading contender to replace Jean-Claude Juncker in the top job but was outmaneuvered by backers of Ursula von der Leyen – is no stranger to making splashy pop culture references.
In May he mocked British politics as ‘Game of Thrones on steroids’ amid the Brexit crisis.
As well as likening the Tory leadership battle with the show in which cities are laid to waste and an army of the undead threatens to wipe out humanity, he said the Brexit chaos in the UK should be a warning to other countries tempted to try to break away from the bloc.
The previous month following the extension of the departure date to October 31, he said Britain should use the next few months to ‘cool down and rethink’ its decision to leave and called on British politicians to be ‘more responsible’.
The Dutchman said: ‘I hope this period of extension will be used for Britain to calm down and rethink things a bit, perhaps for politicians to be more responsible with the promises they make, and then look at the issue again later this year.
‘Who knows what might change in the meantime?’
The commission VP said Brussels was expecting Harry Potter(L), but got Dad’s Army (R)
Jean-Claude Juncker, (L) President of the European Commission, kisses the head of First Vice-President of European Commission Frans Timmermans in late June. Mr Timmermans was tipped to replace the outgoing President but backers of his candidacy were outmaneuvered
Dutch social democrat Timmermans, 58, is a member of the country’s Labour party (PvdA), for whom he served as foreign minister until 2014, when he went to Brussels to become a Commissioner.
A student of French literature and European law, Timmermans attended an English school in Rome after growing up in Maastrict, the city for which one of the EU’s founding treaties was named.