Britain will ‘have’ to regret Brexit warns EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

UK will ‘regret’ leaving EU after Brexit, warns Jean-Claude Juncker

The EU chief issued a warning to the UK over its decision to leave, as Nigel Farage told the Commission they were “bullies”.

The UK will “regret” its decision to leave the European Union, Brussels’ top official has warned.

Things “cannot remain as they are” for the UK in its relationship with the EU once it has left the bloc, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said in an address to the European Parliament.

Jean-Claude Juncker risked enraging Brexit eers with the off-the-cuff remark in the European Parliament.

Speaking French, the top bureaucrat opened a statement on Brexit talks by saying in French: “On 29 March 2019 at midnight, the United Kingdom will have left the European Union.”

But met with applause by some British MEPs, he sniped in English: “Then we will have to come when you regret your decision.”

Mr Juncker warned things “cannot remain as they are” for the UK in its relationship with the EU after leaving the bloc.

His speech came after Theresa May gave a major address to EU ambassadors at London’s Mansion House, spelling out more detail and promising she did not want to “cherry pick”.

But in a blow to the Prime Minister Mr Juncker said: “It’s obvious that we need further clarity from the UK if we are to reach an understanding on our future relationship.”

Mr Juncker also hit back in a row over an EU backup plan that suggested keeping Northern Ireland in the Brussels-controlled customs union.

Theresa May rejected the text saying it would damage Britain’s precious union and “no UK Prime Minster could ever agree to it.”

Yet Mr Juncker told MEPs: “The draft article on Ireland should not come as a surprise or a shock – it translates faithfully last December’s agreement into a legal text.”

He said it was a European issue, to which an MEP heckled: “It’s a British issue sir, it’s a British issue!”

Mr Juncker said “cherry-picking is not going to be possible” in the future trade relationship between the UK and EU.

“I would rather have preferred Britain not to have decided to leave the European Union, but anyone who leaves the European Union has to know, frankly, what this means,” he said.

“If you decide to jettison, leave behind, the common agreements and rules, then you have to accept that things cannot remain as they are.”

He said the EU was ready to work with the UK on its preferred option of the border issue being resolved in the future trade deal, or by other specific measures.

But he added “we need to receive concrete proposals from the UK first”.

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage claimed the European Commission was trying to “bully” the UK.

Mr Farage, an ally of US president Donald Trump, said the UK should leave the EU without a transition deal and claimed a transatlantic trade deal could be struck “in 48 hours”.

He said: “Mrs 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.

“Please Mrs May, at this summit next week, do what Trump has done – stand strong against the European Commission, against the unelected bullies.”

The European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt also called for more details from the Prime Minister.

He said: “There was this Mansion House speech by Mrs May, but it was mainly repeating the red lines that we know already.”

The Prime Minister had said “we cannot accept the rights of Canada and then the obligations of Norway” but “I don’t think that we have ever presented that proposal to the UK side”, Mr Verhofstadt said.

“I think the UK side have to understand that the opposite is also not possible – you cannot have the rights of Norway and then the obligations of Canada.”

Mr Verhofstadt said it was time to move beyond “slogans” and “soundbites”.

He has put forward a motion to the European Parliament for an “association agreement” to deal with the future UK-EU relationship.

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