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Emmanuel Macron issues warning on post-Brexit financial services deal at summit with Theresa May

UK News | Published:

The French President says UK and France are ‘making a new tapestry together’ with co-operation on defence and migrants, but Brexit uncertainties continue.

France will not give in to British demands for the financial services sector to be covered by a Brexit trade deal, Emmanuel Macron indicated after talks with Theresa May.

The UK and France are “making a new tapestry together”, Mr Macron said as the countries agreed new co-operation on defence and measures to tackle the migrant crisis.

The Prime Minister insisted the strength of the City of London benefited both sides in the Brexit talks.

A new treaty between the two countries  will enable the improvement of security at Calais, costing the UK around £45 million.

The treaty will also allow an acceleration in the processing of migrants seeking to come to the UK via Calais, with a reduction from six months to one month for adults and 25 days for children.

Mr Macron said the current situation in the channel port was “not satisfactory”.

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But he said the new treaty would allow him to fulfil his 2016 vow that after Brexit “migrants will no longer be in Calais”.

He said:  “We can either manage the border together or it will be a disastrous situation. It is not a gift for France. It is some joint management. ”

Mrs May defended the decision to commit extra resources to Calais.

She said:  “This is in our national interests, it is also in the interests of France to ensure that we have as secure a border as possible at Calais and other ports.”

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Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron at the UK-France summit at Sandhurst (Stefan Roussea/PA)
Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron at the UK-France summit at Sandhurst (Stefan Roussea/PA)

The choice of venue was appropriate as the countries committed to closer defence and security co-operation between “Europe’s two foremost military powers”, Mrs May said.

Measures agreed include:

But Brexit loomed over the summit, with Mr Macron saying he regretted the British decision to leave, even if he respected the will of the British people.

Asked why he wanted to exclude financial services from a future UK-EU free trade agreement, Mr Macron said: “I am here neither to punish nor to reward.

“I want to make sure that the single market is preserved because that is very much the heart of the EU.”

Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron with other senior UK and French ministers at Sandhurst (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron with other senior UK and French ministers at Sandhurst (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“If you want access to the single market, including the financial services, be my guest. But it means that you need to contribute to the budget and acknowledge European jurisdiction.

“Such are the rules, and we know the system already in place for Norway.”

Mrs May restated her call for a deep and special partnership and comprehensive trade agreement between the UK and EU after Brexit.

“We recognise that as we leave the EU we will no longer be full members of the single market,” she said.

But it was in the interests of both sides in the talks to have a trade  deal that covered both goods and services, she said.

“I think the City of London will continue to be a major global financial centre.

“That is an advantage not just for the UK, it’s actually good for Europe and good for the global financial system.”

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