The UK is ‘not abandoning its leading role in EU cooperation’ says Boris Johnson

A Brexit doesn’t signal the end of UK relations with the rest of Europe, stressed Boris Johnson, Britain’s new foreign secretary.

Meeting fellow EU foreign ministers in Brussels, Johnson, who was at the forefront of last month’s referendum campaign to take Britain out of the EU, said that the political union needed a “coordinated response” to terrorism following the brutal attack that recently occurred in Nice.

Johnson said: “We have to give effect to the will of the people and leave the European Union, but that in no sense means that we are leaving Europe,”

He told reports on arrival: “We are not going to be in any way abandoning our leading role in European cooperation and participation of all kinds.”

There were no formal talks about the UK’s EU exit at the meeting, rather, the meeting focused on the coup in Turkey and the Nice attack.

Boris said he wanted to see “restraint and moderation on all sides” in Turkey after the attempted coup.

Boris did not apologise for his Hitler comment, but showed humility and modesty.

When asked if Johnson had apologised for comparing the goals of the EU to those of Hitler and Stalin during the Brexit campaign, French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said: “No he did not apologise … Boris Johnson came to the council and behaved with a certain modesty.

“For me the essential thing is clarity, not making snide remarks or snap judgments. But what matters is the relationship that we’ll now have to construct between the EU and Britain.”

Ayrault added: “I did not feel it targeted me when he said that, nobody around the table did.

“Everyone knows what the EU is. Everyone knows, who discusses it reasonably, that the EU presents a great opportunity for freedom, democracy and for prosperity.

“So Boris Johnson, I would say, came to this council with some humility.”