Jean-Claude Juncker: Britons will 'soon regret' Brexit vote

Pauline Gross
September 15, 2017

Today the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, delivered his annual State of the Union speech to the European Parliament.

"Now we have a window of opportunity, but it will not stay open for ever", he said, emphasizing a need to move on from and even profit from the British vote to leave the bloc in 2019.

Responding to UKIP MEPs in the chamber, who had cheered the mention of the UK's exit, he added - in an off-the-cuff remark not included in advance copies of the speech - "I think you will regret it as well soon, if I might say". "We are going to make progress".

"It can not be excluded that numerous responsible people in the United Kingdom government obviously have unrealistic assumptions", European People's Party (EPP) spokesman Peter Liese said in a statement.

Juncker recalled that when he gave the same speech past year that the European Union was "not in a good state". EU officials say that with Britain leaving, and the eight remaining non-euro states accounting for only 15 percent of EU GDP, Juncker sees it as natural for EU and euro zone policy to operate in unison. In the same address a year ago, Juncker warned of "galloping populism" and defended the very idea of European integration begun in the 1950s to avoid a repeat of devastating wars on the continent.

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Proposing a special European Summit to be held in Romania on Brexit Day, March 30, 2019, Juncker hoped the Europeans would wake up to a Union of 27 member states where European standards would be shared by all European citizens.

The president of the European Commission said Wednesday he saw no prospect of Turkey joining the EU in "the foreseeable future" but he had a more optimistic message for six Western Balkan nations also seeking membership. It isn't the future of Europe. It's also had to contend with a series of currencies afflicting the countries - now 19 - that use the euro as their currency.

Juncker refused calls, popularized by French President Emmanuel Macron when he was campaigning in 2016, to set up a separate parliament for countries using the common currency.

Juncker took a swipe at Poland and Hungary - which have been at odds with Brussels over democratic standards - saying European Union countries should not be allowed to breach the "rule of law".

Mr Juncker accused Turkey of distancing itself from the European Union and said the country would not become a member of the bloc for the "foreseeable future".

Other reports by GizPress

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