The vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, has written an emotional farewell letter to the United Kingdom, which is due to leave the European Union on 31 January.
Timmermans, a Dutch diplomat, has been vice-president of the European Commission since 2014. In von der Leyen's new Commission, he is responsible for the work on the European Green Deal.
He wrote an open letter, titled "My love letter to Britain", in the British newspaper The Guardian to express how much heartache Brexit is causing him.
"I know you now. And I love you. For who you are and what you gave me. I’m like an old lover. I know your strengths and weaknesses. I know you can be generous but also miserly. I know you believe yourself to be unique and different. And of course you are in many ways, but perhaps less than you think," he wrote.
"You will never stop referring to the rest of us as “the continent”. It helps you to create the distance you think you need. But it also prevents you from seeing that we all need a bit of distance between us. All European nations are unique. Our differences are a source of admiration, surprise, discomfort, misunderstanding, ridicule, caricature and, yes, love," he added.
He described how important the UK has been throughout his life, and calls himself "an old lover" saying goodbye with a broken heart, but he also respects the UK's decision to leave.
"Truth be told, I felt deeply hurt when you decided to leave. Three years later I am just sad that a member of our family wants to sever our ties. But at the same time, I find comfort in the thought that family ties can never really be severed. We’re not going away and you will always be welcome to come back," he concluded.
The Brussels Times