The European Commission has hit back at claims by British Prime Minister Theresa May that Brussels is meddling in the UK General Election by suggesting it is too busy to do so.
The commission adopted a dismissive tone after Mrs May’s extraordinary attack on the EU over its Brexit stance.
A spokesman for the commission insisted it had “too much” on its plate to “Brexitise” its work.
He said: “We are not naïve; we know that there is an election taking place in the United Kingdom. People get excited whenever we have elections. “This election in the United Kingdom is mainly about Brexit. But we here in Brussels, we are very busy, rather busy, with our policy work.
“We have too much to do on our plate. So, in a nutshell, we are very busy. And we will not Brexitise our work.
“To put it in the words of an EU diplomat, the 30-minute slot that we are going to devote to Brexit per week, for this week it’s up.”
Pressed on whether Mrs May was right to claim that EU figures were using “threats” to influence the election, the spokesman said: “I said that we are not naive and we know that it is time that elections happen. “People get excited over elections, it’s normal, so things are said. We don’t Brexitise our very important policy work. We are too busy now to engage in these comments on who said this or that.”
The remarks came after Mrs May intensified the war of words over Brexit by accusing European politicians and officials of attempting to influence the outcome of the General Election ahead of withdrawal negotiations.
In a Downing Street address, the PM said: “The events of the last few days have shown that whatever our wishes and however reasonable the positions of Europe’s other leaders, there are some in Brussels who do not want these talks to succeed, who do not want Britain to prosper.
“Britain’s negotiating position in Europe has been misrepresented in the continental press. The European Commission’s negotiating stance has hardened. “Threats against Britain have been issued by European politicians and officials. “All of these acts have been deliberately timed to affect the result of the General Election that will take place on June 8.”
Mrs May said she would not let Brussels “run over” the UK in Brexit talks. “If we don’t get the negotiation right, if we let the bureaucrats of Brussels run over us, we will lose the chance to build a fairer society with real opportunity for all.”