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31 Jan, 2020 18:35

Brexit is ‘historic alarm signal’ indicating need to deeply reform EU, says Macron

Brexit is ‘historic alarm signal’ indicating need to deeply reform EU, says Macron

In a televised address to mark Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, French President Emmanuel Macron branded Brexit a “historic alarm signal” which should “spur” deep EU reform to build a powerful and efficient European Union.

Describing Friday as a “sad day”, Macron said the 2016 Brexit campaign was based on lies, exaggerations, and cheques that were promised but will never materialize. He said the UK leaving the bloc was a shock, but that it came about because Europe had been used as a scapegoat for difficulties “all too often”.

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Macron also spoke about the historical and future relationships between Britain and France, saying that the pair’s long history is “one made of blood, freedom, courage and battles.” He said his compatriots would never forget how much they owe Britain, adding that while British people will no longer have the same rights in the EU after Brexit, UK citizens living in France will still be “at home” there. 

The French president said he wants to see a close relationship with post-Brexit Britain, but the country can’t simply be in and out of the EU at the same time, and France will continue to defend the interests of both its fishing and agriculture industries – two key areas the countries have butted heads over before. 

"And in this negotiation, we will remain united, all 27 of us," he said of the remaining EU member states.

Macron took a tough stance in the Brexit talks, particularly as the British government called for a number of extensions to its original March 29, 2019 exit date. The French president was also among the more vocal EU leaders in objecting to British PM Boris Johnson’s efforts to reopen Brexit negotiations after he took over from Theresa May.

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