Juncker: No new member in European Union by 2019

Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of backsliding on Brexit by Tory MP Dominic Raab

He believed that Britain would soon "regret" their decision.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker declared the "wind is back in Europe's sail" in a speech delivered as the United Kingdom negotiates its exit from the bloc.

Under Juncker's so-called investment screening proposal, any proposed takeover of "strategic European Union assets" will be subject to strict criteria that must meet the values of the member state in question.

But the hour-long speech, which ranged over areas as diverse as the quality of fish fingers to plans to create a super-presidency role, Brexit was given a notably short slot near the end.

The European Union should open trade talks with Australia and New Zealand, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker says.

The Labour leader is expected to urge his MPs to oppose the EU Withdrawal Bill in a Commons vote today
The Labour leader is expected to urge his MPs to oppose the EU Withdrawal Bill in a Commons vote today

But Juncker said "if we want to have greater stability in our neighborhood then we need to offer a credible enlargement prospect to the countries of the Western Balkans".

A mass lobby will allow "EU citizens and their British family and friends, along with British citizens living in other European Union countries, to meet with their MP in parliament to raise their concerns and tell their own story", it said. But we are going to make progress. "Brexit isn't everything. It's not the future of Europe".

European Union diplomats say the bloc will change the current rules, a plan also backed by Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, in a move that could make it easier for Macron to carry out economic reforms at home by showing he is delivering for French workers.

He wrote: "2016 was in many ways an "annus horribilis" for the European project".

Juncker also advocated for a Europe that is more active on the global stage, in trade and foreign policy.

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"All but two member states are duty bound to join the Euro area".

Inclusion of Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen Zone.

The statement further explains that only one other country has arrangements bringing it "closer than a third country" to the EU on defence, and that it Norway - "which has submitted itself to EU Common Defence Policy, EU defence industry directives, [and] membership of the European Defence Agency".

More countries will become European Union members, but Turkey will not become a member for the "foreseeable future", he said.

In a passionate speech, Mr Junker remarked how the last time he had delivered the annual address the continent and its institutions "were not in a good state".

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"The message is very clear: Brexit has happened, new steam ahead..."

"You have learned nothing from Brexit".

Juncker said national authorities would be given better legal instruments to root out such "illegal practices", an attempt to woo the reluctant easterners at a time when the European Union needs unity as it negotiates over the complex terms of Britain's departure in 2019.

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