European Union presses Britain to 'face up to hard facts' on Brexit


BRITAIN will come to regret its decision to leave the EU, the president of the European Commission has said.

Britain hopes to begin talks on the future trading relationship with Brussels next month, and May set out her proposals for a new wide-ranging free trade agreement in a speech on March 2.

The EU last week snubbed British Prime Minister Theresa May's calls for a special post-Brexit deal by offering London just a free-trade agreement with no special treatment for Britain's mighty financial sector.

Mr Juncker told MEPs: 'I would rather have preferred Britain not to have chose to leave the European Union, but anyone who leaves has to know, frankly, what this means'. "If you decide to jettison, leave behind, the common agreements and rules, then you have to accept that things can not remain as they are".

Agreeing a transition period after Britain's formal departure from the European Union bloc by next week is tricky, as London and Brussels are at loggerheads over how to organize the border between the Republic of Ireland and British province Northern Ireland.

"It is our responsibility to detail operationally how we will avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland without another solution and bearing in mind the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the single market and the customs union", he said.

But he was heckled by one MEP who shouted "it is a British issue".

Other sticking points will be avoiding a hard border in Ireland, as well as securing citizens' rights.

"It is impossible to be outside the European Union and to have a better position than as a member of the European Union".

The Federation of German Industry (BDI) says trade deals worth billions are in jeopardy if no deal is struck.

German companies are still preparing for a range of outcomes to the negotiations between Britain and the European Union, including the scenario of a hard Brexit in which no agreement was reached, Lang said, adding that next week's European Union summit would be crucial.

"Do they also want to distance themselves from our regulatory model, the one that we have constructed together with you - and you with us - for 44 years?" In his words, it is now time to turn "speeches into contracts, engagements into agreements and move from speeches, common assumptions and desires for future relationships to concrete, applicable solutions".

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