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Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020

EU official says UK always welcome back after Brexit

The UK’s Brexit march has inflicted ‘unnecessary damage’ on itself but the European Commission’s vice president has said the country would be warmly welcomed back into the EU fold at any time.
Frans Timmermans lamented the looming departure in a ‘love letter’ to the nation where he spoke of Britain’s long-held skepticism of the bloc keeping everybody else in ‘better shape’.

In the message, first published in The Guardian, the former Dutch foreign minister spoke of his fear that ‘more will follow’ after January 31 when the UK is set to formally exit.

Mr Timmermans said he first fell for the UK’s charms studying in a British international school in Rome but now feels like a spurned ‘old lover’.

He wrote: ‘You have decided to leave. It breaks my heart, but I respect that decision.

‘You were in two minds about it, like you have always been in two minds about the EU. I wish you had stuck to that attitude, it served you well and it kept all of us in better shape,’ he wrote.

‘Was it necessary to force the issue? Not at all. But you did. And the sad thing is, I see it is hurting you. Because the two minds will still be there, even after you have left.

‘In the process so much unnecessary damage has been done to you, and all of us. And I fear more will follow.

‘But at the same time I find comfort in the thought that family ties can never really be severed. We’re not going away and you will always be welcome to come back.’

After January 31 the UK will enter a transition period while London and Brussels try to broker a future relationship including a trade deal.

During this time the UK will still be operating predominantly under EU law.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also ruled out any extension to the December 31 2020 deadline and with key figures within the EU warning of an impossibly tight timetable there is speculation the UK could crash out with a no-deal Brexit at the end of next year.
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