15 September 2016
Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, has warned that the UK might not be granted access to the single market after it leaves the European Union.
In his annual State of the Union speech, Mr Juncker said Britain could not expect “a la carte” access to the free trade zone with European leaders seeing free movement of people as a fundamental condition of membership.
Insisting that the Brexit vote did not signal “the disintegration of the European Union”, Mr Juncker accepted that the bloc was facing an “existential threat” because of growing nationalist and populist movements in various European nations.
In his address to the European Parliament, he also called on Theresa May’s government to trigger the process for leaving the EU as soon as possible.
“We would be happy if the request for Brexit could happen as quickly as possible so that we could take the specific steps which need to happen,” he said.
Mr Juncker also raised the issue of the recent murder of a Polish man in Essex and the rise in hate crimes in Britain following the Brexit vote.