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Europeans will never accept its citizens being “harassed, beaten up or even murdered” in the streets of Brexit Britain, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said today (14 September) in his flagship State of the Union speech in Strasbourg.
Arkadiusz Jóźwik died after he was attacked in Harlow, Essex after the UK’s referendum vote to leave the EU. It was reported he was targeted after speaking Polish on 27 August.
The 40-year-old factory worker’s death had lived in Britain for four years. There was a rise in racially aggravated crimes in Britain after the 23 June Brexit vote, which was blamed on a bitter campaign based on fears about immigration.
“Europeans can never, never, accept Polish workers being harassed, beaten up or even murdered in the streets of Essex,” Junker told MEPs in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
“The free movement of workers is as much a common European value as our fight against discrimination and racism.”
“Our friends and partners worldwide deeply regret Brexit and wonder if Brexit is the beginning of the disintegration of the EU,” said Juncker.
“Our European Union is, at least in part, in an existential crisis,” but he added, “The EU, as such, is not at risk.”
EU leaders, with the exception of Britain, will meet in Bratislava this week to discuss the future path of the bloc. The speech is the Commission’s opening salvo in those talks.
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