Britain promises 'indivisible' link with European Union militaries after Brexit

Greens leader Philippe Lamberts

Greens leader Philippe Lamberts

Speaking at the annual state of the union address, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced that the "wind is back in Europe's sails" after a turbulent few years for the bloc.

He told the commission: "We have to respect the will of the British people".

He also issued a warning to Britian, which is now slowly progressing with exit negotiations, saying that "we will always regret this, and I think you will regret this too, soon".

"We will not miss any opportunity to step in".

In confirming a delay until September 25, which Brussels had been expecting, the British government said in a statement it was a joint decision taken because "more time for consultation would give negotiators the flexibility to make progress".

While a future EU-UK trade deal remains a distant prospect, Juncker called on the bloc to seal trade deals with Australia and New Zealand by the end of his mandate.

Juncker, whose Commission proposes European Union legislation and polices the bloc's laws, said the European Union is into its fifth year of economic recovery, with unemployment at a nine-year low.

Guy Verhofstadt said Tuesday that "sufficient progress has not been made" on Britain's divorce bill, the future border arrangements between Ireland and Northern Ireland and the rights of citizens affected by Brexit.

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.

FILE PHOTO - EU and British flags fly outside the European Commission building in London, Britain August 12, 2017.

"We should also allow Croatia to become a full Schengen member once it meets all the criteria", he added.

Eleven of the 15 European Union goods most exposed to Britain are Irish exports, an analysis by the country's finance ministry showed on Wednesday, highlighting the extreme vulnerability to Brexit of some Irish firms. It's also had to contend with a series of crises afflicting the countries - now 19 - that use the euro as their currency.

Juncker did not mention any country, but most European Union concern over reciprocity and investment has centred on China.

Turkey was also on the receiving end of Juncker's barbs, as he urged Ankara to "let our journalists go" following the jailing of several European reporters.

He criticised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government for the arrest of journalists and a crackdown following an attempted coup past year.

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