President von der Leyen met Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday to frame the forthcoming discussions on the future relationship between the EU and the UK.
In her own words, this is about « old friends, new beginnings ».
Both leaders agreed that the EU and the UK share common values and many interests, and that there are many areas where cooperation on the global stage will be invaluable, such as climate change, human rights, security, etc.
President von der Leyen stressed the fact that the EU fully respects the decision by the UK to leave the EU. This decision brings with it consequences, as no relationship can be as close as being a member of the EU.
The EU will negotiate in good faith, in the framework of the Political Declaration, with the aim of achieving the best possible outcome. Time however is short for such an agreement to be reached and then ratified before the end of 2020. The President made clear that there is a trade-off between any regulatory divergence and access to the EU market.