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Britain, EU announce date of next round of Brexit talks

Britain, EU announce date of next round of Brexit talks”

In a wide-ranging state of the union speech that encompassed everything from refugee policy to Slovakian fish fingers, Jean-Claude Juncker pointedly made room for just a passing reference to the European Union's impending loss of one of its biggest member states.

He called for an European Union summit in the Romanian city of Sibiu on March 30, 2019, the day Britain would officially depart the bloc.

The British government says it's willing to contribute troops to European Union military missions after the United Kingdom leaves the bloc. Brexit would be "a very sad and tragic moment", the president of the European Commission told MEPs in Strasbourg.

"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", he added. The expected positive change of tone by Juncker as he addresses the 750 MEPs will be dramatic compared to past year when a string of crises from the debt in the eurozone to migration culminated in the the Brexit natural disaster.

At the same time, he is likely to enlarge on proposals for the EU to take a tougher line with China over allegations of cut-price dumping and for it to scrutinise more closely future investments in strategic European assets by state-owned firms.

Without that movement, British officials say talks may become stalled particularly on Northern Ireland, arguing that how to deal with the only land border with the European Union depends on what kind of future customs deal the two sides will agree. We now have a window of opportunity but it will not stay open forever.

EU growth has outstripped the U.S. for the last two years, while unemployment in the union is at a nine-year low, with eight million jobs created.

FILE PHOTO - EU and British flags fly outside the European Commission building in London, Britain August 12, 2017. "But Europe's institutions played their part in helping the wind change".



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