Angela Merkel says EU project remains on course despite Britain's exit from the bloc
Speaking to journalists in Brussels after a meeting of EU leaders, Merkel said member states were determined to make the bloc stronger following Britain’s decision last week to leave.
“In line with our strategic agenda, we would like to make the EU function more consistent, more simple, less bureaucratic and with a focus on our targets... to increase growth and strengthen competitive power,” she said in comments broadcast on the European Commission’s EbS channel.
The meeting was the first to exclude a British leader since the U.K. joined the EU in 1973.
Merkel said the remaining 27 leaders were keen to address the concerns of ordinary people, particularly over security, migration and finances and focusing on youth.
However, she ruled out radical changes to the EU project. “The trend was clear during our discussion today, no treaty changes,” she said. “It is not the need of today. We will be doing the wrong thing again if we begin a debate on the treaties. We should rather convince our citizens by our concrete political measures.”
The reason behind the U.K. decision to leave the EU has been widely interpreted as popular discontent with the functioning of the EU, sparking concerns across Europe about possible knock-on effects.