Former French Prime Minister Alain Juppé has urged the European Union (EU) not to punish the UK in ‘Brexit’ talks, and suggested freedom of movement across the bloc should be “up for negotiation”.
The Presidential hopeful said he wanted a “quick divorce” between the EU and UK. Mr Juppé stated he’d like to see Britain trigger Article 50, the mechanism to withdraw from the EU “as soon as possible”.
Juppé, considered a liberal in the centre-right Republican party, said he hopes to see the EU take a pragmatic approach to making deals with an independent Britain.
Interviewed in the Financial Times, Juppé said despite EU leaders warning Britain that access to the single market is only possible with open borders, he believes there should be room for compromise.
The French politician said ‘Brexit’, “does not mean we are going to punish the UK. We need to find ways to co-operate, to find a solution to have the UK in the European market, one way or another — whether that is part of the European Economic Area or something else”
The mayor of Bordeaux said he believed, in talks with the UK, everything can be “up for negotiation”, but suggested the rest of the bloc was likely to forge ahead towards an EU superstate.
Advocating the creation of an EU army and an “ambitious investment programme” to boost growth in the Eurozone, Juppé ruled out referendums on such projects going forward. “The EU is a house with cracks all over,” he said. “If you add a floor, it’s going to collapse.”
Polls predict that in primary elections for The Republicans later this year, Mr Juppé is in line to beat Nicolas Sarkozy. He plans to exploit French dissatisfaction with migrant camps at Calais, proposing to move the UK’s border from France to Britain.
While French President Francois Holland has stated the Touquet Agreement between the two countries will stay in place, Mr Juppé said: “The logic requires that border controls take place on British soil.
“We must move the border back to where it belongs.”