Juncker wants European Union finance minister, no separate euro budget or parliament

French Front National leader Marine Le Pen at the European Parliament in Strasbourg | Frederick Florin  AFP via Getty Images

French Front National leader Marine Le Pen at the European Parliament in Strasbourg | Frederick Florin AFP via Getty Images

This will be a very sad and tragic moment in our history.

With populism at bay and the economy on the upswing, Juncker's annual State of the Union speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, is expected to strike a far more optimistic note than past year.

The Turnbull government hopes to finalise a trade deal with the European Union by 2019.

Labour MP Chris Bryant, a leading supporter of the pro-EU Open Britain campaign, said: "The Government's intention to continue to share a deep foreign policy and security relationship with the EU in future is welcome, but it makes a mockery of their threat to leave the EU with no deal at all".

And Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the UK's role in the continent's defence had "never been more vital".

Speaking in French, German and English, Juncker made it clear that Brexit was not a major issue for him, stating that "we will move on because Brexit isn't everything".

And then in June of a year ago, after a campaign as fraught with misinformation as our presidential election, and an equally slim margin in results, 52 percent of voters chose to leave the European Union with the other 48 percent wishing to remain.

The EU also remains deeply divided by the migration crisis, with a fresh spike in arrivals in Italy from Libya adding to rifts over how to handle the biggest influx of refugees and migrants since World War II.

"Europe would be easier to understand if one captain was steering the ship".

However, diplomats in the European Union capital said they had been told on Tuesday that the negotiations had been put back "for reasons of the United Kingdom political calendar" rather than for any reason in Brussels.

"We only had two choices - either come together around a positive European agenda or each retreat in our own corners". He also called for trade pacts with Australia and New Zealand.

Tax reforms in the European Union, such as higher taxation of online giants, should no longer require unanimous votes from EU ministers, the head of the European Commission said on Wednesday, urging the use of rules that limit governments' veto powers.

He said that instead of creating a new post, the job should be given to a vice-president of the European Commission - a suggestion that is bound to meet with vehement resistance from euro zone governments, especially Berlin.

Unemployment in Europe was at a nine-year low, he said, and the bloc was in the fifth year of an economic recovery that had finally reached every single member state.

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