Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Chubb selects France as post-Brexit EU headquarters

"The wind is back in Europe's sails", said Juncker, whose hour-long speech prompted numerous outbreaks of applause by members of the 751-seat EU Parliament.

Mr Juncker said: "This will be a very sad and tragic moment in our history".

The European Commission President used his speech to call for a special summit of an EU of 27 member states on the 30th March 2019, the day after Britain will formally leave the EU. Defense is the UK's most valuable card in Brexit negotiations and London hopes its contribution in the area will yield favorable trade terms from the European Union in return.

"Allowances given to United Kingdom companies for free should not be valid in the EU ETS if those companies have no more obligations under the ETS", said Peter Liese MEP, EPP Group Spokesman on Environment.

European Union officials say they can not move on to discuss a future relationship until "sufficient progress" has been made on three priority issues - the rights of expatriates, the Irish border and a financial settlement.

"We will always regret this - and I think that you will regret it as well soon, if I might say", Juncker told members of the European Parliament, including Brexit architect Nigel Farage.

After the last round in late August, Barnier said the sides were far apart on the terms on which Britain will leave.

In this morning's speech the European Union chief set out his 12-month masterplan to steer the troubled bloc through the escalating refugee crisis and reform the eurozone.

"Europe would be easier to understand if one captain was steering the ship". "They belong where freedom of expression reigns", Juncker said.

"Faced with this choice I argued for unity", he said, "I proposed a positive agenda to create a Europe that protects, a Europe that empowers, a Europe that defends".

Mr Juncker said the European Commission would open free-trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand and aim to conclude talks with Mexico and South America trading bloc Mercosur by the end of the year.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker proposed combining the Commission and Council presidencies - a move that would transform the EU leadership and consolidate authority in a single figure who would campaign for the post.

With all European Union countries finally recording growth after the traumas of the eurozone debt crisis, and unemployment at pre-crisis lows, Juncker is set to turn to the question of how bloc pushes forward with what officials called the "change in the wind".

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