BBC reports that European leaders have expressed sadness at the UK leaving the EU. France's President Emmanuel Macron said he was "deeply sad" while the EU's Guy Verhofstadt pledged to try and "ensure the EU is a project you'll want to be a part of again". Celebrations and anti-Brexit protests were held on Friday night to mark the UK's departure. . The UK officially left the European Union on Friday at 23:00 GMT after 47 years of membership, and more than three years after it voted to do so in a referendum.
In a message released on social media, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would bring the country together and "take us forward". "For many people this is an astonishing moment of hope, a moment they thought would never come," he said. "And there are many of course who feel a sense of anxiety and loss."
COMECE | Catholic Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the EU
Full Text Statement of the COMECE Presidency on Brexit
For more than four years, Brexit has been a source of concern for the future, an element of instability for many people, families and communities on both sides of the English Channel. From today onwards, the United Kingdom is no longer part of the European Union. We are saddened, but as defender of freedom of expression and democracy, the Catholic Church in Europe respects the will expressed by the British citizens during the 2016 Referendum. As stated by the Bishops of the United Kingdom, we welcome the Brexit Deal recently achieved between the UK and the EU. It can be seen as a victory of common sense and good neighbourly relations. A No-Deal scenario would have had negative effects on both the United Kingdom and the European Union, but, overall, it would have been harmful for the most vulnerable people. Even if the United Kingdom is no longer part of the EU, it will continue being part of Europe. We are all destined to live and work together in the full respect of everyone else’s choices and diversities. It is crucial, therefore, to maintain good relations with each other. We invite all people of good will to pray and work for the common good and make sure that Brexit will not succeed in shattering the fraternal relations between brothers and sisters on both shores of the sea. It might be a long and challenging process, but it could also be an opportunity to trigger new dynamics between European peoples and rebuild a sense of community in Europe. Despite Brexit, the Bishops’ Conferences of the United Kingdom will remain an integral part of the Church in Europe. Their Bishop Delegates will even continue to be participating at COMECE, at the political level as observer members, and at the technical level within the framework of the COMECE Commissions and Working Groups.
COMECE Standing Committee