Friday 23 February 2018

Juncker: UK will regret its decision to leave EU

British Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: PA
British Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: PA

The UK will regret Brexit, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker declared - but he said the EU will also.

In the annual State of the Union address, Mr Juncker lamented the decision to leave the EU which was taken by British voters last year.

"On 29 March 2019, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union.

"This will be a very sad and tragic moment in our history. We will always regret it. I think you will regret this soon, I might say. But we have to respect the will of the British people," he said.

Mr Juncker also said that the European Union should have a minister of economy and finance but no separate eurozone budget or parliament.

He said such a minister should also be the chairman of all eurozone finance ministers and be accountable to the European Parliament.

The minister would be in charge of economic and financial issues not only for the eurozone, but for all EU countries, Mr Juncker said.

Creating a finance minister for the EU rather than for the eurozone is an attempt to prevent divisions among the 27 countries that will remain in the EU once Britain leaves in 2019. He said that instead of creating a new post, the job should be given to a vice president of the European Commission.

The idea of a eurozone finance minister has been promoted by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Irish Independent

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