The U.K. will continue to be an active participant on the European stage even after leaving the European Union, Boris Johnson said in Brussels on his first overseas trip as Britain’s new foreign secretary.
“We have to give effect to the will of the people and leave the European Union,” Johnson told reporters as he arrived for a meeting with his 27 EU counterparts on Monday. “That in no sense means we’re leaving Europe; we are not in any way going to be abandoning our leading role in European cooperation, participation of all kinds.”
Johnson, who once compared the EU to Adolf Hitler, said the events of recent days in France and Turkey, which foreign ministers will discuss at Monday’s talks, underscored the benefits of working together.
“When you look at the discussion on the table this morning over Nice, the horrific events in Nice, and Turkey where we have to work very closely together, you can see the importance of that,” Johnson said. “On Nice, clearly we’ll be assuring that we coordinate our response to terror and on Turkey I think it’s very important, in view of the failed coup, that we see restraint and moderation on all sides, and that’s what I’ll be calling for.”