EU foreign ministers hope Britain will remain in EU

BRUSSELS, June 20 (KUNA) — EU foreign ministers began in Luxembourg a formal meeting Monday with the focus on Thursday’s referendum in the UK on EU membership.
“The referendum battle in the UK is close fought. It will be a very tight result either way. The message that we are trying to get across to the British people is that this is an irreversible decision. If Britain decides to leave there will not be a going back. Britain could never rejoin the EU in a later date,” UK foreign secretary Philip Hammond told reporters on arrival at the meeting.
“We are very clear that it is in Britain’s best interest to remain a member of the EU. My message to my colleagues here would be that the people in Britain if we vote to remain on Thursday will expect a speedy and complete implementation of the package that was agreed in Brussels in February to make sure that the EU works,” he added.
On his part, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, today’s meetings “will be all strongly influenced by the UK referendum.” “I always said I would like a strong English majority to vote to stay in the EU. If this will not happen we are going to lose a lot more than just a single country, we will lose UK’s tradition and history within the EU that has been and still is important for us, and the EU would lose a lot if the UK will leave,” he noted.
Sebastian Kurz, Minister for European and International Affairs of Austria, said” I hope the Brexit won’t happen. I am convinced that not only it is better for the UK to stay in Europe but Europe itself is better and stronger with the UK. Therefore I hope there will be a clear vote to stay because in the opposite case it would have a negative impact on the EU.
Jean Asselborn, foreign minister of Luxembourg said “almost all of us wish for the UK to stay in the EU, but we need to make it clear to them that if they say “no”, then something in their lives will change.” “This is no experiment. If they say “no”, it won’t be good for them, they will walk alone. We’d like to avoid that, but the message that no matter how they vote, there will be no consequence, is wrong,” he added. (end) nk.gta