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Brexit to bring new start for EU, no fewer opportunities: commission chief

Brexit to bring new start for EU, no fewer opportunities: commission chief
January 31, 2020
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The EU will start a new chapter after Britain leaves, with no fewer opportunities as a united force on global issues from climate change to technological transformation, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday. “Our experience has taught us that strength does not lie in splendid isolation but in our unique union,” the head of the European Union’s executive told a news conference ahead of Britain’s formal exit from the bloc at midnight Brussels time (2300 GMT). “Nowhere else in the world can you find 27 nations of 440 million people speaking 24 different languages, relying on each other, working together, living together. Let there be no doubt – the challenges that Europe faces and the opportunities that it can grasp have not changed because of Brexit.” She said Brexit offered the 27 remaining members of the EU “a once-in-a-generation opportunity” to ensure that Europe leads the way on the challenge of climate change, the digital revolution, managing migration and building strong partnerships across the globe.
Brexit day: UK casts off from the European Union
The UK leaves the European Union on Friday for an uncertain Brexit future, its most significant geopolitical move since the loss of empire and a blow to 70 years of efforts to forge European unity from the ruins of two world wars. The country will slip away an hour before midnight from the club it joined in 1973, moving into the no man’s land of a transition period that preserves membership in all but name until the end of this year. At a stroke, the EU will be deprived of 15% of its economy, its biggest military spender and the world’s international financial capital of London. The divorce will shape the fate of the United Kingdom — and determine its wealth — for generations to come. “This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson will say in a television address, though he has given few clues about his post-Brexit plans beyond inspirational words.