STRASBOURG, France – Both the United Kingdom and the European Union will regret London’s decision to withdraw from the bloc, but the EU will move on as a more unified institution, said the European Commission chief, Jean-Claude Juncker, during his State of the EU address in Strasbourg on Wednesday.
Juncker kept all mentions of Brexit to a minimum during his annual address to the European Parliament plenary session in which he proposed the EU’s agenda for the coming year, but lamented London’s withdrawal, as he outlined plans for a summit to set to be held in Romania on March 29, 2019 – the official day of Brexit.
“This will be a very sad and tragic moment in our history, we will always regret this,” said Juncker, before turning to the euroskeptic member of the UK Independence Party, Nigel Farage, a European lawmaker, to tell him that his country would soon regret its decision to leave the EU, too.
The chief commissioner said he respected the will of the British people, who voted to leave the bloc in a June 2016 referendum, before adding that the EU would move on because Brexit was neither the be-all and end-all nor the future of Europe.
He said he hoped EU citizens would wake up on March 29, 2019 to a more unified bloc of 27 member states.
UK and EU negotiators were currently locked into a series of negotiations that seek to untangle 40 years of political and financial cooperation.