High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and European Commission’s Head of Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom Michel Barnier wrote an editorial for a number of daily newspapers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, expressing their sorrow because the United Kingdom has left the European Union.
“We lost a member of our family. It was a sad moment for us, for European citizens - and, indeed, for many British citizens. Nevertheless, we have always respected the sovereign decision of 52 percent of the British electorate, and we now look forward to starting a new chapter in our relations”, they wrote.
Borrell and Barnier reminded that under the Withdrawal Agreement, the EU and the UK had agreed on a transition period, “until the end of 2020 at least”, during which the UK will continue to participate in the EU’s Customs Union and Single Market, and to apply EU law, even if it is no longer a Member State.
“During this period, the UK will also continue to abide by the international agreements of the EU, as we made clear in a note verbale to our international partners”, they wrote.
“We now have to build a new partnership between the EU and the UK”, Borrell and Barnier underlined. “That work will start in a few weeks, as soon as the EU27 have approved the negotiating mandate proposed by the European Commission, setting out our terms and ambitions for achieving the closest possible partnership with a country which will remain our ally, our partner and our friend”.
“The EU and the UK are bound by history, by geography, culture, shared values and principles and a strong belief in rules-based multilateralism. Our future partnership will reflect these links and shared beliefs. We want to go well beyond trade and keep working together on security and defense, areas where the UK has experiences and assets that are best used as part of a common effort. In a world of big challenges and change, of turmoil and transition, we must consult each other and cooperate, bilaterally and in key regional and global fora, such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, NATO or the G20”, explained the authors.
“At the very core of the EU project is the idea that we are stronger together; that pooling our resources and initiatives is the best way of achieving common goals. Brexit does not change this, and we will continue to take this project forward as 27”, wrote Borrell and Bernier. “Together, the 27 Member States will continue to form a single market of 450 million citizens and more than 20 million businesses. Together, we remain the largest trading bloc in the world, and we are still the world’s largest development aid donor”, they noted.
“We will continue to live up to our commitments. We will continue to stand by the agreements that link us to our international partners, such as Stabilization and Association Agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and we will continue to develop multilateral cooperation frameworks around the world”, the authors wrote.
Borrell and Bernier concluded that the European Union “will continue to be a partner you can trust”. “A steadfast defender of rules-based multilateralism, working with our partners to make the world more secure and fair”, they concluded.