Juncker delivers EU State of the Union speech

Mr Juncker is expected to strike a careful balance between further integration and maintaining power at national level

"If a foreign public business wants to buy a strategic European part of our energy infrastructure or one of our businesses in, for example, defense technology, that can only happen in full transparency via a deep examination and debate", Juncker said.

Pro-European Union demonstrators protest outside the Houses of Parliament in central London, a day before MPs voted in favour of the Brexit bill.

He said what was being proposed was "more Europe in every single direction without the consent of the people".

The EU completed a free trade agreement with Vietnam in 2015, is in talks to conclude a similar deal with the Mercosur trading bloc and is expected to make similar moves towards Australia and New Zealand.

Britain can only help to keep European Union citizens "safe" if Brussels delivers a post-Brexit trade deal, the Government says - controversially linking the two issues in a new negotiating paper.

"Open markets and customs arrangements that are as frictionless as possible are important to the continued success of this sector and to ensure that British and European Armed Forces can access the best war-fighting capacity to keep us safe".

"Brexit is not the future of Europe".

His comments will be seen as a warning that Brussels is planning to punish British voters for their shock vote past year to quit membership of the club.

Mr Juncker also called for the roles of the president of the European Commission and the president of the European Council to be merged in future.

And in apparent response to criticism that the bloc focuses on the most menial of issues, Juncker presented a commission with a whittled-down agenda, saying it proposed just 25 initiatives this year, down from 100 two years ago. We will always regret this, and I think that you will regret it as well, soon.

"Sanctions are a vital and effective foreign policy tool and the United Kingdom has taken a particularly active role in driving policy on the global and European stage, in support of our shared values and to tackle our common threats".

In this morning's speech the European Union chief set out his 12-month masterplan to steer the troubled bloc through the escalating refugee crisis and reform the eurozone.

"When I stood before you this time previous year, I had a somewhat easier speech to give".

Having had a say in how the system is shaped, most analysts believe that Britain will remain part of the system, following a similar path to Norway, which has companies that participate in the scheme despite the country not being an European Union member.



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