United Kingdom will come to 'regret' Brexit decision, Juncker says

Alicia Cross
March 15, 2018

Jean-Claude Juncker, the unelected President of the European Commission, said: "We can do stupid too".

Mr Juncker was addressing the European Parliament earlier today on potential plans for future EU and United Kingdom relations.

The BDI interpreted the development as an "alarming sign" that Brexit was already "casting a shadow" on economic relations between Britain and EU.

Agreeing a transition period after Britain's formal departure from the European Union bloc by next week is tricky, as London and Brussels are at loggerheads over how to organize the border between the Republic of Ireland and British province Northern Ireland.

And the issue of the Irish Republic's border with Northern Ireland also remains a thorny issue. "Now we have the chance to reduce the uncertainty for companies on both sides of the Channel", said he, without specifying what the extraordinary plans would be.

Juncker warned it was particularly crucial for London to clarify its plans for the sensitive issue of the Irish border.

Other sticking points will be avoiding a hard border in Ireland, as well as securing citizens' rights.

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"Tariff and quota-free trade in goods is the minimum requirement for German companies, ideally within the framework of a customs union", Lang emphasized.

BDI director Joachim Lang urged London to seize the opportunity of an upcoming session by the European Council to present realistic proposals for a close future relationship between the bloc and the departing member. If no deal is reached at an European Union summit, firms must begin planning for a worst-case "hard Brexit".

"It's time to face up to the hard facts", Barnier told the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

Britain's CBI industry body also endorses a customs union with the EU after Brexit, as does opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The European Parliament's Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt said talks he held with May and her Brexit minister David Davis last week had left him confident London would "see the advantages of such an approach". In his words, it is now time to turn "speeches into contracts, engagements into agreements and move from speeches, common assumptions and desires for future relationships to concrete, applicable solutions".

"Ms May, we did not vote for a transition period, we voted to leave this organisation, we voted to leave the customs union, we voted to leave the single market", he said.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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