"Stay with us" Flemish PM asks UK

Flemish Prime Minister Geert Bourgeois has called on UK politicians to drop Brexit and not to leave the EU.  Mr Bourgeois also spoke of his tremendous gratitude to the British soldiers who fought in Flanders Fields during the Great War. The Flemish leader was addressing the diplomatic corps in Brussels when he made his unusual, heart-felt appeal.

"Just stay with us" said Mr Bourgeois.  "We are friends, historic friends and as far as I'm concerned future friends too."

The Flemish nationalist politician has never been enthusiastic about Britain's departure from the EU repeatedly warning of the negative impact on Flanders.  The UK is Flanders fourth most important trading partner.  Speaking in English Mr Bourgeois warned of the enormous social economic ramifications for everyday people and businesses of a No Deal Brexit that could cost Flanders 28,000 jobs and 2.6% of its GDP.

The Flemish PM also paid homage to the many British soldiers who gave their lives on the fields of Flanders during the Great War.

"These courageous twenty-and thirty-year-olds from Kent, Belfast, Wales and Edinburgh fought for fundamental freedoms, peace and democracy that we cherish today as part of the human values and the law-based community that is the EU.  I can impossibly emphasize enough how grateful I will always be to the UK.  When I think of this I can simply not believe that we will soon no longer both form part of the EU."

The Flemish leader expressed understanding for the motives of Britons wishing to quit the EU, but thinks these motivations are wrong.