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14 September, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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Wind back in Europe’s sails: EU president

AFP
Wind back in Europe’s sails: EU president
EC President Jean-Claude Juncker

STRASBOURG: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a flagship speech Wednesday that the "wind is back in Europe's sails" after last year's shock Brexit vote, an act he insisted Britain would regret, reports AFP.

In his annual State of the Union address to the European Parliament, Juncker said the troubled bloc had become more united in the past 12 months and stressed that economic momentum was picking up.

The former Luxembourg premier urged deeper integration across the board, calling for more states to join the euro and the passport-free Schengen area, and proposing a single EU chief and dedicated pan-European finance minister. "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.

"We have now a window of opportunity but it will not stay open forever. Let us make the most of the momentum, catch the wind in our sails." Juncker did not utter the word "Brexit" until the very end of his 80-minute speech, saying that "we will regret it, but you will regret it too", earning jeers from British eurosceptics in the chamber.

"We must respect the will of the British people, but we will move forward, we will move forward -- because Brexit is not everything, because Brexit is not the future of Europe," the veteran politician added.

British eurosceptic leader Nigel Farage responded to Juncker's plans by telling him: "Thank God we're leaving -- you've learnt nothing from Brexit".

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. The 62-year-old has two years left in office as head of the EU's powerful executive arm to ensure that his legacy is not limited to the departure of one of the European Union's largest member states.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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