In Strasbourg, during a state of the union address, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has said Britons would “soon regret” Brexit.
He added that Europe would “always regret” the Brexit vote, but asserted that “we will keep moving because Brexit isn’t everything.”
During the address, he discussed regarding securing new European Union trade deals with Australia and New Zealand, ruled out Turkey becoming a member and said that by the end of September, a new migrant deportation policy would be proposed.
A summit that is to be held on 30 March 2019, the day after Brexit takes place, was suggested by Mr. Juncker in the Romanian city of Sibiu to plan the European Union’s future with just 27 states remaining in the bloc.
“We have to respect the will of the British people. But we are going to make progress, we will keep moving because Brexit isn’t everything, it isn’t the future of Europe,” he told the commission:
“I think you will regret it quite soon,” added Juncker to cheers from pro-Brexit members, including Nigel Farage, a former UKIP leader.
Fourth round of negotiations on Brexit delayed
Mr. Juncker said that the European Commission would open free-trade negotiations with New Zealand and Australia and strive to conclude discussions with South America and Mexico trading bloc Mercosur by the end of 2017.
He said the bloc was on the road to recovery, after a decade since the global financial meltdown – with economic growth that is faster than the United States.
He added that unemployment in Europe was at a nine-year low, and the bloc was in its fifth year of recovering economically that had finally stretched to every single member state.
Juncker stated: “The wind is back in Europe’s sails. Now we have a window of opportunity, but it will not stay open forever.
“Let us make the most of the moment: catch the wind in our sails.”
‘Worst-case scenario’ Brexit planned by Germany
Mr. Juncker cited Turkey on distancing itself from the European Union and said that for the “foreseeable future,” the country would not become a member of the bloc.
He criticised President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish President, and his government for the arrest of journalists and a crackdown after an attempted coup in 2016.
The European Commission will present a set of proposals on immigration that will concentrate on the opening of legal pathways to migration and the return of those not eligible to stay in Europe, by the end of September.
Juncker continued: “When only 36% of irregular migrants are returned, it is clear we need to significantly step up our work.
“This is the only way Europe will be able to show solidarity with refugees in real need of protection.”
Juncker also suggested that the roles of the president of the European Council and the president of the European Commission be merged in future.