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Did The Head Of The EU Just Say Britain Doesn't Need To Be In The EU?

Nigel Farage is celebrating Jean-Claude Juncker's comments. Eurosceptics are delighted. Juncker's team simply insist he can't speak English very well.

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Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, may have said that the UK doesn't really need to be in the European Union.

Suzanne Plunkett / PA Wire/PA Images

He told a meeting of the European parliament: "I am 150% in favour of having Britain as a constructive member state of the European Union. We need Britain."

He then appeared to add: "Personally I don't think Britain needs [the] European Union. But as a matter of conviction others might have a different feeling on that."

UKIP leader Nigel Farage immediately issued a celebratory press release: "I want to buy Juncker some champagne. I have always had a personal liking for Jean-Claude Juncker even though we have political differences. His statement today that personally 'I don't think Britain needs the European Union' is spot on."

The story was an instant hit with eurosceptic news outlets, while the anti-EU Vote Leave campaign welcomed the comment and declared that the UK is "stronger and safer" outside Europe.

Jean-Claude Juncker: Britain does not need European Union http://t.co/bXTaQnhb5l

The only thing is, Juncker's team deny he ever said it.

A spokesperson insisted that the European Commission boss actually mumbled "I do think Britain needs the European Union".

Their defence is that his English is often hard to hear.

All of this matters because Juncker is meeting David Cameron on Thursday to discuss the UK's renegotiation of its relationship with the EU ahead of the forthcoming referendum on whether to remain within the union.

There's only one way to decide this: a vote.

First, turn on the audio and listen to Juncker's words on this Vine:

vine.co

Fill in the blank: "We need Britain. But personally I ____ think needs the Europe Union."

  1. Now, vote on what Jean-Claude Juncker actually said:

    He said: "I don't think Britain needs [the] European Union."
    He said: "I do think Britain needs [the] European Union."
    He said something completely different and why are we even trying to work this out?

Did The Head Of The EU Just Say Britain Doesn't Need To Be In The EU?

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Now, vote on what Jean-Claude Juncker actually said:
  1.  
    vote votes
    He said: "I don't think Britain needs [the] European Union."
  2.  
    vote votes
    He said: "I do think Britain needs [the] European Union."
  3.  
    vote votes
    He said something completely different and why are we even trying to work this out?

And now that's all sorted.

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at jim.waterson@buzzfeed.com.

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