Russia will welcome a more integral and independent post-Brexit European Union if it is not achieved by means of Russophobia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper.
"If it helps it [EU] to be a more cohesive association and strengthen its independence and self-sufficiency not based on Russophobia - London played a considerable role in it, that’s what it was - we will only welcome this trend," TASS quoted Lavrov as saying.
According to the minister, the United Kingdom always tried to stay aloof and play its own game inside the EU. "They received economic and trade benefits, but always kept a distance politically and tried to advance their interests in the EU as well as Washington’s interests - there’s nothing to hide here," he stressed. "They opted out of many process taking place in the EU for a reason," Lavrov noted. "Therefore, I don’t think that the EU will be hit hard by Brexit."
He recalled that the UK went through a period of "doubt, torment and hesitation" after 51.89% of the population backed withdrawal from the union back in 2016. "As a result, changes occurred in the UK Conservative Party, people who brushed hesitation aside rose to power," the minister said.
On January 31, the United Kingdom officially departed the EU after 47 years of membership. However, the country has now entered a transitional period when virtually nothing changes until December 31, 2020. The UK and the remaining 27 EU members now have 11 months to agree terms of future cooperation, primarily a free trade deal.