Speech by President von der Leyen at the London School of Economics on ‘Old friends, new beginnings: building another future for the EU-UK partnership’
Over the next month and years, we will have to loosen some of the threads, which have been carefully stitched together between the EU and the UK over five decades.
And as we do so, we will have to work hard to weave together a new way forward.
I say this because Brexit does not only mark the end of something. It also marks a new phase in an enduring partnership and friendship. It will be a partnership for your generation – and I count on you all to make a success of it.
You can choose collaboration over isolation, you can shape your continent’s destiny, you can hold your governments accountable, you can refuse to be satisfied with the status quo and can turn things into how they should be.
I know the last few years have been difficult and divisive. I hope that by being constructive and ambitious in the upcoming negotiations, we can all move forward together. There will be tough talks ahead and each side will do what is best for them. But I can assure you that the United Kingdom will always have a trusted friend and partner in the European Union.
This is the story of old friends and new beginnings. In this good sense: Long live Europe!