President Macron offers Brexit advice to UK

President Macron had a suggestion for the UK when he spoke in front of the European Parliament today – ‘it’s called EU membership’.

During a three-hour debate about his ideas for the future of the EU, Mr Macron said: “You’ve asked me about Brexit and I have a very direct reply about the position that France will have towards the UK and the post-Brexit situation.

“I am for a relationship that is the most integrated as possible, the closest… and there is a solution – you know it well – it’s EU membership.

“That’s the one also that allows for good access to the single market, which allows for access to freedoms, and really good integration.”

He said friendship with the UK was very important to him, but there could be no cherry-picking when it came to the single market and its freedoms.

Mr Macron was appearing to speak about and answer questions on his ideas about EU reform, with his keyword being what he called ‘European sovereignty’. He said it was necessary to organise wide-ranging debates in the member states in the coming months about the EU’s future, warning that it was important to strengthen ‘European democracy’ in the face of tendencies towards ‘authoritarianism’ and ‘selfish nationalism’.

He was warmly welcomed by EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker who said “the real France is back”, and received a standing ovation at the end of the debate – despite dissenting voices including from the far-left with regard France’s military action in Syria, and from eurosceptics.

The Front National’s Florian Philippot said he wanted a ‘Frexit’ referendum, adding: “Our nations are brilliant civilisations and we’ll always be much better than any European treaty, so let us leave the European Union and enter into the world.”

We will have more about the debate and Mr Macron’s ideas for EU reform in the May edition, out next week.

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