Juncker to visit May in London next week
By Eszter Zalan
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker will visit London next Wednesday (26 April) to discuss the process of the UK's EU exit with British prime minister Theresa May.
May has invited Juncker to London a few days after she has called for a snap election, scheduled for 8 June, in effect postponing the start of exit talks with the EU until mid-June at the earliest.
Juncker will be accompanied by the EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said Thursday (20 April).
The commission also restated that despite the upcoming elections, the next UK government will not be able to undo the triggering of the Article 50 procedure.
“The unilateral revocation of Article 50 will not be possible, it needs the approval of all 27 member states,” Andreeva said.
Meanwhile, British newspaper The Daily Mail reported that May’s election manifesto will try to bring into line the Tory MPs who supported remaining in the EU by setting out Brexit red lines in her campaign programme.
The newspaper cited anonymous party sources saying May will make a formal pledge to end free movement of people into Britain from the EU, and to pull out of both the EU single market and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
The EU commission insisted on Thursday that citizens’ rights, including the right to free movement, is the "most prominent topic" in the guidelines for Brexit negotiations that EU leaders will adopt on 29 April, three days after Juncker and Barnier's visit to May.
Andreeva said that EU citizens should not be used as bargaining chips in the upcoming talks, and that the commission "wants to make sure their rights will remain respected and be enforceable in a non-discriminatory way”.
The president of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani met with May on Thursday (20 April) in London.
After the meeting Tajani told journalists that citizens' rights were "a priority" and "a red line".
"It’s impossible to go back," he said. He added that “there is room for an agreement” but insisted on the need for "a clear framework in the next months".
He said that the actual implementation will be negotiated by Michel Barnier, and invited May to Strasbourg to lay out the UK’s position in the European Parliament.
On the UK snap elections Tajani said the vote will guarantee stability, and that a stable negotiating partner with a strong majority is in the interest on the EU.