Juncker Encourages Western Balkans On EU Membership, Criticizes Turkey

Sep 14, 2017, 00:14
Juncker Encourages Western Balkans On EU Membership, Criticizes Turkey

"It's vital. We are not making threats", he said.

"Nonetheless, we have to respect the will of the British people. It's not the be all and end all".

"The UK and the European Commission have today jointly agreed to start the fourth round of negotiations on Sept 25", a government spokesman said in a statement.

Agri-food and traditional manufacturing face an additional vulnerability due to the UK's reliance on the two sectors, the report added, as outside the EU, Britain would have an incentive to seek trade agreements with third countries on better terms in areas in which it is not self-sufficient.

His proposal would consolidate the leadership of the Commission, the EU's technocratic executive branch, with the relatively new position of Council president, who serves as the convenor and coordinator of the bloc's 28 (soon to be 27) heads of state and government.

Britain has played one its strongest cards in the EU negotiations by offering to put its defence, security and aid assets at the disposal of the European Union in the hope of getting concessions on future trading and economic relations.

He called for an European Union summit in the Romanian city of Sibiu on March 30, 2019, the day Britain would officially depart the bloc. Around the same time, several members of the European Union expressed growing discontent over how to handle the migrant crisis, while euroskeptic right-wing parties in several member states gained support.

Time is running out for Juncker's plans, with 2018 being the last full year of his mandate.

"All this leads me to believe the wind is back in Europe's sails", Juncker told MEPs in the French city of Strasbourg, in a speech that mixed English, French and German.

He struck a far more optimistic tone than when he stood at the podium in September 2016, admitting then that "it was plain for all to see that our union was not in a good state, battered by a year that shook our very foundations".

"We want to fight terrorism together. Faced with this choice, I argued for unity". Mr Junker noted the wrapping up of a trade deal with Canada during the a year ago, and negotiations on deals with Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Juncker may offer ideas, officials say, on how the euro zone could tighten economic integration through shared budgets and leadership, favoured by France in the face of German doubts, but also avoid alienating the minority, especially in the east, who do not yet use the euro and whose voice within the European Union is being much diminished by the loss Britain, the main non-euro power.

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