· Italian PM Matteo Renzi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande met off the coast of Naples.
· They delivered an important statement about the EU without the UK – a Europe that will work closer together on common defence, intelligence sharing and tackling youth unemployment.
· The EU is clearly bruised by the UK referendum result and needs to reassert positive momentum – this speech is an important step in this direction.
· But this statement also shows widespread agreement at the heart of Europe for reforming the EU.
· The three areas outlines – defence, intelligence and employment – are not the only areas highlighted for change. Reforms to the Dublin Agreement on asylum seekers is also moving forward.
· The irony is that at a time where the EU accepts reforms are needed – many of which are consonant with the UK’s wishes – it is only now that the UK is choosing to walk away.
· This may prove a major opportunity lost that could have led to substantial benefits for the UK – and perhaps if the referendum was delayed by a year many voter concerns might have been met within the EU without having to leave it.