The leaders of the European Union sought to show signs of strength and composure within hours of Britain’s exit from the Brexit bloc on Friday and said that the remaining 27 countries in the union are able to address climate change and the requirements of technological transformation despite the withdrawal of a member state from it for the first time.
Britain will leave the European Union in the middle of the night or at 2300 UK time today after nearly half a century of close cooperation with the European bloc in what represents a victory for the pessimists towards European unity and a strong blow to European integration that followed World War II.
“Our experience has taught us that strength does not lie in splendid isolation but in our unique union,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a press conference in Brussels shortly before Britain’s withdrawal.
“The challenges that Europe faces and the opportunities it can seize have not changed because of Brexit,” she said, adding that the European Union should focus on taking the lead globally in the areas of climate change, the digital revolution and migration.
The European Union said to Britain today that it cannot expect “the highest quality entry into the single (European) market” unless it adopts the European Union standards in the fields of environment, labor rights, taxes and state assistance.
“Without the free movement of people, there will be no free movement of capital, goods and services,” European leaders, including von der Leyen, said in an article published by European media.