July 10, 2019 / 11:28 AM / 11 days ago

EU Commission nominee hopes Britain would stay, open to Balkans

FILE PHOTO - German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who has been nominated as European Commission President, speaks with EU Council President Donald Tusk in Brussels, Belgium, July 4, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/Pool

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The nominee for the European Union’s next chief executive said on Wednesday she hoped Britain would not quit the bloc and also urged EU governments to keep open a membership path for the Western Balkans.

“I still hope you will remain,” Ursula von der Leyen, who hopes to be confirmed as president of the European Commission, told a hearing in the European Parliament ahead of a vote on her nomination next week.

But she also said: “The UK must sort its side of things on Brexit,” in reference to what EU governments say is a lack of clarity from London on what kind of future relationship it wants with the EU.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, editing by Robin Emmott

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