EU's Juncker to seek powers to screen foreign takeovers

Republic could get an extra two MEPs post-Brexit

Today, as Juncker delivers his annual speech, people are entitled to ask what the European Union has done to rectify the project's deficiencies since its president delivered such an honest assessment one year ago. We will keep moving.

Juncker also said he wanted to expand the use of the euro - a call that might dismay north European nations anxious about the potential internal strains of bringing Romania and Bulgaria into the single currency.

But Juncker will also speak on how to bring east and west together, as what used to be the fearless new frontier with post-communist Eastern Europe turns into a major faultline.

"We want this European Union role to continue after we leave", he said.

Juncker's speech was full of calls for "more Europe", especially his suggestion that Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia should all finally become full members of the Schengen zone.

Juncker wants a single EU president to replace the heads of the European Commission - the EU's executive arm - and the European Council - which groups the heads of the 28 member states and is now headed by Poland's Donald Tusk.

Having had a say in how the ETS is shaped, most analysts believe Britain will remain part of the system, following a similar path to Norway.

"In the future, more than 27 member countries will join the EU".

According to Gianni Pittella, the head of the Socialists and Democrats group, the second largest one in the parliament, Juncker will propose merging the position of president of the European Commission and the European Council, which is the gathering of EU heads of state and government.

Brexit talks are quite dead-heated.

The union appears to have the upper hand in negotiations with the United Kingdom over its departure, and the threat of populism has receded, so this year's speech conveyed a renewed level of confidence and optimism.

Juncker furthermore backed French President Emmanuel Macron's call for a pan-European finance minister, a big step towards deeper integration of the eurozone, whose proponents want to see further united to tackle any future crisis.

The European Union's top executive on Wednesday proposed to examine foreign investments and start free-trade talks with Australia and New Zealand, highlighting the bloc's push to safeguard strategic industries while expanding its global economic links. The EU will of course want to make its plans going forward.

Davis will insist Britain's "world class diplomacy and defence capabilities" are being highlighted to the European Union as he looks for a "deep and special partnership".

"This Bill is an affront to parliamentary democracy and a naked power grab by government ministers".

"There are better and worse ways of implementing the decision of the British people to leave the European Union, and the way the Government is seeking to implement that decision is potentially extremely damaging to living standards for people in this country". We need a continuing relationship with Europe.

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