East MEP says Junker should “calm down” after Commission president says Europeans can’t accept Polish workers “being harassed, beaten up or even murdered” on streets of Essex.

The head of the European Union's executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, adjusts his tie next to the head of

The head of the European Union's executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, adjusts his tie next to the head of the president's cabinet, Martin Selmayer, left, as he prepares to deliver his State of the Union address at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias) - Credit: AP

Euro MP Vicky Ford has the warned European Commission president to “calm down” after he raised the murder of a Polish worker in Essex in his high-profile state of the union speech.

Mrs Ford also slapped down Jean-Claude Juncker’s claim Britain would have no access to Europe’s single market without free movement after Brexit, claiming it was “over simplistic”.

Mr Junker singled out the British attack in Harlow last month, telling MEPs: “The values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law. Values fought for on battlefields and soapboxes over centuries. We Europeans can never accept Polish workers being harassed, beaten up or even murdered on the streets of Harlow. The free movement of workers is as much a common European value as our fight against discrimination and racism.”

Mrs Ford said: “Hate crime is despicable, six people have been arrested for this murder but Mr Juncker should also remember that hundreds and hundreds of local people stand united to condemn this crime. The vast majority of British people want peaceful and calm negotiations for their future relationship with Europe and not hate”.

The European Commission president also said in his speech that the EU still did not have enough Union.


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He said that EU integration could not be for individual member states to manage alone, and insisted that “too often national interests are brought to the fore”.

Mr Juncker also warned that Britain should expect not to get the same access to the EU’s unified market as if nothing had happened.

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“There can be no a la carte access to the single market,” he warned.

But Mrs Ford who chairs the Parliament’s committee for the internal market believes that this threat is over-simplistic. She pointed to the deep trade links between the UK and other European countries and said “If we are forced to rip the UK out of the single market with no long term plan then economies across all of Europe will suffer. Negotiators on both sides of the English Channel need to take time to get this right.”

The British exit has given rise to much soul-searching among the remaining 27 nations, and their leaders will meet in Bratislava on Friday to plot the way ahead.

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