Juncker: EU should scrap some national vetos on tax

And while he laid into the direction the European Union is going, he was actually pretty positive on the likelihood of a Brexit deal.

It said it had invested heavily to do so and would continue to engage closely with the Commission, EU countries and law enforcement agencies.

While it was clear that a free trade pact would be some way off, and well after Juncker steps down in a year's time, the European Union would look to take advantage of African efforts to forge a free trade area within the continent to work towards a comprehensive continent-to-continent trade agreement.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker held out the promise of an EU-Africa trade pact on Wednesday as part of a "partnership of equals" between the two continents, signalling Europe's stronger involvement in Africa, where Chinese influence is rapidly spreading.

"In the past months, whenever we needed unity in the Union, Britain was at our side, driven by the same values and principles as all other Europeans".

On Sunday, the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats, which has only recently abandoned its neo-Nazi roots, sharply increased its share of the vote since the last election and could become the country's second largest.

The latest tensions flared over decisions by Italy, which has a new populist anti-migration government, to turn away rescue ships carrying African migrants.

European Union officials consider most of the arrivals from Africa to be economic migrants eligible for deportation.


The proposals come as European Union nations bicker over who should take responsibility for people rescued in the Mediterranean Sea, even as the number of crossings has declined sharply this year.

But EU nations still have to endorse his plans. "We want to build a new partnership with Africa", said Juncker. 'We need a lot more.

The EU's inability to agree on how best to manage the arrivals has fueled nationalist sentiment.

Juncker's proposals also include a plan to help countries deport people who do not qualify for asylum.

But Juncker's direction of travel was clear.

"We need to prevent it from being uploaded and, where it does appear, ensure it is taken down as quickly as possible - before it can do serious damage". He branded such obstacles 'an unacceptable backward step in Europe'.

Still, with Africa's population forecast to double by 2050, Juncker said it is time to create an "alliance for sustainable investment and jobs" focusing on youth and which he believes would create up to 10 million jobs in Africa over the next five years.

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