EU Leaders Hope UK Will Remain Close Partner After Brexit
The leaders of the main EU institutions expressed hope that the UK will remain a close partner of the Union in the future.
This statement comes after the outcome of Thursday's referendum on UK's membership to the EU, in which 51.9 % of British voters supported Brexit.
In a joint statement delivered in Brussels on Friday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Parliament President Martin Schulz, European Council President Donald Tusk and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in his capacity as holder of the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, said that they regret the decision, but respect it.
The leaders noted that the British voters have expressed their wish to leave the EU in a free and democratic process.
Despite the unprecedented situation, they were ready to stand strong and united in their response and uphold the core values of the EU, above all peace and prosperity.
They were firm that the Union of 27 member states will continue as it is the framework of their political future and its members are bound together by geography, history and common interests.
The leaders vowed to address together common challenges, to enhance growth and prosperity and ensure a safe and secure environment for EU citizens.
They called on the UK to put into effect the decision of the British people without any delay as this would unnecessarily prolong uncertainty.
The two sides will closely follow Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union which outlines the provisions in case a member state decides to leave the Union.
The EU leaders expressed readiness to begin swift negotiations with the UK on the terms and conditions of its withdrawal.
They reminded that until the negotiations are completed, the UK continues to be a member of the EU with all the rights and obligations deriving from this and EU legislation will continue to apply in the UK until it is no longer a member.
The “New Settlement for the UK within the EU”, which had been agreed by the European Council in February will not take effect and ceases to exist.
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