The European Commission President has said Britons will “soon regret” Brexit during a state of the union address in Brussels.
Jean-Claude Juncker added Europe would “always regret” the Brexit vote, but insisted that “we will keep moving, because Brexit isn’t everything”.
During the address, he spoke about securing new EU trade deals with New Zealand and Australia, ruled out Turkey becoming a member and said a new migrant deportation policy would be proposed by the end of September.
Mr Juncker proposed a summit on 30 March, 2019 – the day after Brexit takes place – in the Romanian city of Sibiu to map out the future of the EU with just 27 states.
He told the commission: “We have to respect the will of the British people. But we are going to make progress, we will keep moving, because Brexit isn’t everything, it isn’t the future of Europe.”
To cheers from pro-Brexit members, including former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, he added: “I think you will regret it quite soon.”
During his address, Mr Juncker called for the EU to forge ahead with free trade deals post-Brexit.
He said the European Commission will open free-trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand and would aim to conclude talks with Mexico and South America trading bloc Mercosur by the end of the year.
And he sounded a more bullish note, saying the bloc is bouncing back a decade after the global financial meltdown and ensuing euro zone crisis with faster economic growth than the US.