EU door remains open, France’s Macron tells Theresa May
The Prime Minister flew to the French capital after breaking off from talks with the Democratic Unionist Party.
The door to the EU will remain open to Britain until Brexit negotiations are concluded, according to French president Emmanuel Macron.
Mr Macron welcomed Prime Minister Theresa May to Paris where the pair discussed Brexit, security issues and migration before heading to the Stade de France to watch the football friendly between the two countries which France won 3-2.
At a joint press conference, the French president said “the door remains open” to the UK staying in the EU, but he wanted the negotiations to start “as quickly as possible”.
Mr Macron said: “Of course the door remains open, always open until the Brexit negotiations come to an end.”
He added: “That being said, a sovereign decision was taken by the British people and that is to come out of the European Union and I very much respect the decisions taken by the people, be it by the French people or the British people.
“As a matter of fact in this case it’s not for me to say whether or not this decision should be questioned – the decision to leave the European Union – but until the negotiations come to an end, of course there is always the possibility to reopen the door.
“But let us be clear and organised and once the negotiations have started we should be well aware that it’ll be more difficult to move backwards.”
Mrs May said: “We have been very clear we want to maintain a close relationship and a close partnership with the EU and individual member states into the future, including in the areas we’ve discussed this evening.
“And I confirmed to President Macron that the timetable for the Brexit negotiation remains on course and will begin next week.”
The Prime Minister flew to the French capital after breaking off from talks with the Democratic Unionist Party to shore up her minority government following last week’s disastrous election results.
She said last week’s general election revealed “a unity of purpose” among British voters for the Government to get on with Brexit.
She said: “It’s a unity of purpose, having voted to leave the EU, that their government gets on with that and makes a success of it, and we are committed to developing a deep and special partnership with the EU. We want the EU to continue to remain strong and we want to continue to co-operate.”
Mrs May said there was a “willingness and intent on both sides” to secure an arrangement for Brexit and there was a “good process” for the negotiations.
Mrs May was accompanied to Paris by Home Secretary Amber Rudd, with plans to stop the internet being a safe space for terrorists under discussion.
These include internet companies such as Facebook, YouTube and Google potentially being fined if they fail to remove extremist propaganda and terrorist material from their platforms.
The UK and France are also to develop plans to create a new legal liability for tech companies which fail to take action against unacceptable content.