UK will regret the decision to leave EU: Juncker
The UK will come to "regret" the decision to leave the EU, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has warned.
Addressing the European Parliament, Juncker was cheered by Eurosceptic MEPs as he noted the UK's departure was due on 29 March, 2019. In response he said the time would come "when you will regret your decision". MEPs' Brexit representative, Guy Verhofstadt, said the UK had to move beyond the "slogans and soundbites".
But he said that the UK and EU were "very near" to an agreement on citizens' rights post Brexit. Juncker told MEPs in Strasbourg there was an "increasing urgency" to negotiate the UK's orderly withdrawal from the EU.
He did not want EU citizens to "fall victim to Brexit", he said, saying it was important to secure their rights. Juncker repeated the EU side's line that "cherry-picking is not going to be possible" in the future trade relationship between the UK and EU.
"I would rather have preferred Britain not to have decided to leave the European Union, but anyone who leaves the European Union has to know, frankly, what this means," he said. "If you decide to jettison, leave behind, the common agreements and rules."