United Kingdom will 'regret' leaving European Union after Brexit, warns Jean-Claude Juncker

Germany's Merkel to talk to Britain's May on Tuesday lawmakers

"It is time to face up to the hard facts".

The UK had no need to be "shocked", he said, that Brussels was holding the British government to its commitments made in a joint report with the commission last December to otherwise keep Northern Ireland in lock step with European Union law, as the status quo would not last beyond Brexit day on 29 March 2019.

Mr Juncker today said the draft proposals should not come as a surprise or shock, suggesting it "translates faithfully" the agreement reached between British and European officials late previous year to avoid a hard border.

In a message to Ms May ahead of next week's European Council summit, Mr Juncker said the EU needed "more clarity on how the United Kingdom sees its future relationship".

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker sidestepped a request from U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May that the EU help develop a solution to the Northern Ireland border conundrum after Brexit.

Responding to their applause, he said the time would come "when you will regret your decision".

During his speech, Juncker said the issue of Ireland was a European one, but was interrupted by members of the parliament saying this was only a British issue.

Britain hopes to begin talks on the future trading relationship with Brussels next month, and May set out her proposals for a new wide-ranging free trade agreement in a speech on March 2.

"I would rather have preferred Britain not to have made a decision to leave the European Union, but anyone who leaves the European Union has to know, frankly, what this means", he said.

'If you decide to jettison, leave behind, the common agreements and rules, then you have to accept that things can not remain as they are'.

"The UK is interested in having a close partnership with the EU".

He said it was "especially important" that Britain comes up with concrete proposals for the border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which is staying in the EU.

"Does Britain also want to leave that model and go toward regulatory competition - call it dumping - against us", he asked legislators at the European Parliament in Strasbourg France.

When one MEP shouted "it is a British issue", Mr Juncker shot back: 'It is all for one and one for all, that is what it means to be part of this union'.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier defended a proposal for the EU to continue to regulate trade in the North after Brexit, should no other ways emerge to avoid a hard border.

He said that there were options on the table to do this and that these needed to be worked through.

As well as differences over what access the United Kingdom should expect to the single market after Brexit, the ongoing uncertainty over the Irish border question looms large.

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