- Title: EU conservative slams Johnson's "arrogant provocation" on Turkey
- Date: 22nd November 2016
- Summary: STRASBOURG, FRANCE (NOVEMBER 22, 2016) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT FLAGS OF EU AND EU MEMBER STATES
- Embargoed: 7th December 2016 12:51
- Keywords: EU Britain Johnson Turkey Weber Verhofstadt Brexit freedoms
- Location: STRASBOURG, FRANCE
- City: STRASBOURG, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: European Union,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00159J1BNR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The centre-right leader in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, denounced British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Tuesday (November 22) as arrogant and seeking to goad the European Union for calling on it to let Turkey join the bloc.
"It's unbelievable. It's a provocation, it's a purely arrogant provocation from (British Foreign Secretary Boris) Johnson when he's telling us what we have to do. He himself did in the Brexit campaign leaflets where he showed Turkey, Syria and Iraq as possible members of the European union, making people afraid of possible new migration race," said Weber, an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel who leads the biggest bloc in the EU legislature, the EPP parliamentary group.
Weber was referring to the fact that Johnson had assured Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan that Britain would help Ankara's efforts to join the EU within weeks of the vote for Brexit in June.
In an earlier news conference at the European Parliament, parliament's Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt said the European Parliament would not accept an agreement for Britain's exit from the European Union that would endanger any of the four EU freedoms, including the freedom of movement of people.
"It is impossible to find solutions where we destroy the so-called four freedoms. These four freedoms are key, they are a basic element of the European Union: the freedom of movement of goods, of services, of capital and of people and so we will certainly never accept whatever development where these four freedoms at put at risk," Verhofstadt said.
Verhofstadt was speaking to reporters after meeting Britain's minister in charge of leaving the EU, David Davis.
He said he agreed with Davis that talks on Britain's exit, or Brexit, from the EU should conclude before the next European parliamentary elections in 2019, after Britain submits a formal notice that it wants to leave by the end of March 2017.
"I also underlined the fact that parliament needs to give its consent. That takes a few months so the window for negotiations in fact, if you look to it more in detail, is more or less 14-15 months, let's be honest," Verhofstadt told reporters.
Speaking separately, Davis said Britain will have sorted out its position on migration, security, and the single market before it submits the formal exit notice by the end of March but it needed time until then to "get it right".
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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