Foreign secretary Boris Johnson says UK will not abandon its leading role in Europe ahead of meetings

 
James Nickerson
Follow James
BRITAIN-EU-POLITICS-BORIS
Johnson said the UK will continue to co-operate with Europe (Source: Getty)

The UK will not "abandon its leading role" in Europe in the wake of Brexit, foreign secretary Boris Johnson has said.

Arriving in Brussels for a meeting with his European counterparts, Johnson said the UK will not leave its friends in the lurch, adding there needs to be a co-ordinated response to terrorism in the wake of the Nice attacks.

Ahead of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, Johnson said: "It's very, very good to be here for my first overseas trip.

"The message I'll be taking to our friends in the Council is that we have to give effect to the will of the people and leave the European Union.

Read more: Scotland should be "fully engaged" in Brexit talks, says Theresa May

"But that in no sense means we are leaving Europe. We are not going to be in any way abandoning our leading role in European participation and co-operation of all kinds."

Yesterday Johnson had a meeting with EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini about the UK's future role in Europe.

"I had a very good conversation to that effect with High Representative Mogherini and she very much agreed that is a role Britain should continue to play," he said.

When you look at the discussion on the table this morning over the horrific events in Nice, and Turkey where we have to work very closely together, you see the importance of that.

On Nice, we will be ensuring that we co-ordinate our response to terror.

"On Turkey, it is very important in light of the failed coup that we see restraint and moderation on all sides, and that is what I will be calling for. In the meantime, I am very much looking forward to meeting my colleagues from other European countries."

Read more: The new Brexit minister's plan for Britain

Later Johnson is expected to also meet his US counterpart, secretary of state John Kerry.

Officials are expected to focus on Nice, with no formal negotiations around Britain's exit of the EU allowed to take place.

Meanwhile, David Davis yesterday ruffled some feathers when he said EU migrants who come to the UK after a certain date could be deported.

Related articles