United Kingdom seeks 'deep security partnership' with European Union after Brexit

Greens leader Philippe Lamberts

"The EU is willing to establish partnerships with the United Kingdom in areas unrelated to trade, in particular the fight against terrorism and global crime as well as security, defence and foreign policy", the European Commission's chief spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reporters.

With Britain now scheduled to exit the European Union in 2019, Juncker said he saw no new enlargement of the bloc before 2020.

Pro-Brexit supporters argued before the EU referendum past year that closer defence cooperation between the bloc's member states was another sign of closer union, and on Tuesday the Veterans for Britain group said the paper was "a grave mistake".

"Nonetheless we have to respect the will of the British people, but we will have to make progress, we will move on, because Brexit isn't everything - it's not the future of Europe".

Defense is the UK's most valuable card in Brexit negotiations and London hopes its contribution in the area will yield favorable trade terms from the European Union in return.

A British government spokesperson said the delay was to allow more time for "consultation", though the European Parliament's Brexit lead Guy Verhofstadt has claimed Theresa May is set to make an intervention regarding the UK's position. "However, the European Parliament has made it clear that, whatever the outcome of the negotiations on the future European Union-United Kingdom relationship, they can not involve any trade-off between internal and external security, on the one hand, and the future economic relationship, on the other hand".

"The 30th of March 2019, on that date it will be a union of 27".

The pledges were detailed in the government's sixth "future partnership paper" - part of efforts to counter criticism by EU officials that it is not prepared for negotiations to unravel more than 40 years of union.

Meanwhile, Italy has handled an influx of migrants and refugees.

In a passionate speech, Mr Junker remarked how the last time he had delivered the annual address the continent and its institutions "were not in a good state".

"We only had two choices - either come together around a positive European agenda or each retreat in our own corners".

He repeated a call to create a post for a eurozone finance minister, but added that the post could be filled by an existing commissioner.

It also poses a "major threat" to Britain's place in the Five Eyes intelligence co-operative with Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States - since its Anglosphere partners are reluctant to be over-exposed to the EU's often leaky and unreliable security agencies.

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