Brexit won’t kill EU, say ‘Big 3’ lead­ers

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THE lead­ers of Italy, France and Ger­many in­sisted that Bri­tain’s shock de­ci­sion to quit the Euro­pean Union would not kill the bloc.

Speak­ing aboard an air­craft car­rier an­chored off the Ital­ian is­land here, one of the cra­dles of the dream of a united and in­te­grated Europe, the lead­ers vowed to strengthen the Euro­pean pro­ject fol­low­ing the Brexit vote on June 23.

“Many thought the EU was fin­ished af­ter Brexit but that is not how it is,” Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter Mat­teo Renzi said on Au­gust 22.

Call­ing out the con­ti­nent’s euroscep­tics, he said it was “easy to com­plain and find scape­goats”.

The EU “is the an­swer” to Europe’s prob­lems, for it ce­mented “peace, pros­per­ity and free­dom,” he said.

Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel re­called that the EU had been born from some of the “dark­est mo­ments” of Euro­pean his­tory, a ref­er­ence to World War II.

Echo­ing Mr Renzi, she said the time had come to “write a bet­ter page” in Euro­pean his­tory.

French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande warned that Europe was faced with a risk of “frag­men­ta­tion and divi­sion” with­out the EU.

It needed a “new im­pulse” on three fronts, Mr Hol­lande said: the econ­omy; de­fence and se­cu­rity; and en­sur­ing jobs and ed­u­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties for young peo­ple.

The three lead­ers were speak­ing ahead of a work­ing din­ner aboard the Ital­ian air­craft car­rier Giuseppi Garibaldi as the sun set over the Naples coast. –

Photo: AFP

(From left) French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande, Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel and Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter Mat­teo Renzi host a joint press con­fer­ence aboard the Garibaldi off the Ital­ian is­land of Ven­totene on Au­gust 22.

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