Brussels: Top European Union (EU) leaders sent a message of unity and hope as the United Kingdom’s departure loomed on Friday, vowing that a smaller bloc would not translate into a weaker one. Also Read - EU Provides €1.65 Million Humanitarian Aid to Support Flood Victims of Bangladesh, India, Nepal

Presidents Charles Michel, David Sassoli and Ursula von der Leyen, respectively of the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission, stood together on Friday morning to deliver remarks meant to elicit optimism and energy on the day when they lose one of the bloc’s most important economic, political and military powerhouses. Also Read - Indian-Origin Dancer Bags Award from UK PM For Free Bhangra-Fitness Lessons During Quarantine

“We stand at a new departure for Europe. We should not forget how much stronger we are when we act together,” Xinhua quoted Sassoli. Also Read - UK Suspends Extradition Treaty With Hong Kong Over China's Controversial National Security Law

“It’s never a happy moment when someone leaves but we are opening a new chapter. We will devote all our energy to building a stronger, more ambitious EU. With 27 strong democracies, strong values, freedoms, 22 million businesses, and the biggest single market,” said Michel.

“Indeed, tomorrow, almost half a century of the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union is over. When the UK joined — I was still at school — we were 6 Member States. Tomorrow we will be 27 member-states,” said von der Leyen.

“During all these years … our Union has gained political impetus and has become a global economic powerhouse. Our experience has taught us that strength does not lie in splendid isolation but in our unique Union,” she added.