January 31, 2020 / 11:01 AM / 20 days ago

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

FILE PHOTO: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks at a plenary session at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

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.

Reporting by Marine Strauss, Writing by John Chalmers

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