EU's Juncker eyes Africa free trade pact

EU's Juncker eyes Africa free trade pact

EU's Juncker eyes Africa free trade pact

In an apparent attack on the Leave movement, Juncker said member states of the European Union should "say "no" to unhealthy nationalism" which is "riddled with poison and deceit".

"This is why we want to find a creative solution that prevents a hard border in Northern Ireland".

The EU respects Britain's decision to leave, Juncker said.

The European Union must flex its muscles as a world power, EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday, as he spoke critically of U.S. President Donald Trump's retreat from worldwide engagement.

He said "someone who leaves" the European Union, "cannot be in the same privileged position" as it once was while a fully-fledged member. You voted to leave, you can't stay part of a single market, all of which makes me wonder why Mrs May wants to opt back into things.

While the European Union opposes May's call for Britain to stay in a free trade zone with the European Union for goods only, Juncker said the two sides should seek a broad free-trade deal.

"I believe we should develop the numerous EU-African trade agreements into a continent-to-continent free trade agreement, as an economic partnership between equals".

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"After 29 March 2019, the United Kingdom will never be an ordinary third country for us", he said.

"We agree with the statement made in Chequers that the starting point for such a partnership should be a free trade area between the United Kingdom and the European Union".

But as negotiators struggle to overcome problems about the future of the land border on the island of Ireland, Juncker also pledged that Britain would remain a very close partner.

"Whenever Europe speaks as one, we can impose our position on others", Juncker said, arguing that a deal he struck in July with Trump to stall a transatlantic tariff war and which won plaudits for the Commission should have come as no surprise.

"Michel Barnier stands ready to work day and night to reach a deal as we owe it to our citizens to make sure the United Kingdom is stable afterwards", he said. "It will not be the commission that will stand in the way of this". "But we will equally be very outspoken should the British government walk away from its responsibilities under the Good Friday Agreement", he said.

"It is Brexit that risks making the border more visible in Northern Ireland".

"External borders must be protected more effectively", Juncker told EU lawmakers in Strasbourg, France, in a self-styled "state of the European Union" address.

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