Jean-Claude Juncker denied on Tuesday that he favored a federal European superstate as he sought the support of British Conservatives and other eurosceptics for his presidency of the European Commission, but his assurances drew a cool response.
The designated head of EU executive delivered his message to the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group in the European Parliament 10 days after British Prime Minister David Cameron failed to block his path to Brussels' top job.
"Despite what you may read in the British press, I do not want a United States of Europe," the former Luxembourg prime minister told the lawmakers, according to one person present.
"I do not believe that Europe can be constructed against the nation state."
As he visited the main political groups to explain his vision, Juncker, 59, attempted to show that he had understood some criticism levelled by eurosceptics at Brussels.