Macron and Barnier Call for ‘Close as Possible’ Ties with Brexit Britain Without Concessions

Macron and May
AFP/Adrian Dennis

French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to urge the European Union (EU) to strike a Brexit deal and form a close relationship with the UK, days after rejecting Theresa May’s ‘Chequers’ plan.

The staunchly pro-EU leader, who has called for the bloc to expand with an army and common budget, will claim a clean, ‘no-deal’ Brexit will “break links and poison relations” between member states.

In Mr Macron’s vision for the bloc, there will be “concentric circles” with eurozone nations in the inner ring and Britain close by in a second, sources told The Times.

A diplomatic source told the newspaper: “He sees a no-deal scenario as something that would break links and poison relations at a time when Europe needs to be united beyond the EU.”

The claims come after the bloc’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said he wanted ties with the UK to be “as close as possible” and promised a “partnership with Britain such as has never been with any other third country”.

Mr Barnier has previously insisted the UK would not get a tailor-made, unique deal, and his claims sent the value of the pound up.

Many people pushing for a “soft Brexit” and close ties with the bloc welcomed the comments from the two men, with some websites and papers calling them a “boost”.

However, neither men gave much detail on how their stances have changed or if they are proposing a more generous offer to the UK.

Mr Barnier’s words came with the usual warnings that the UK cannot pick and choose bits of the bloc’s Single Market.

He said preparation for a “no deal” must be made and appeared to mock Mrs May’s “Brexit means Brexit” rhetoric, saying: “Single Market means Single Market… There is no Single Market a la carte.”

Meanwhile, President Macron appeared to reject Mrs May’s ‘Chequers’ plan for a “soft Brexit” just a couple of days ago, ruling out any compromises that risk the EU “unravelling”.

Mrs May wants frictionless trade to continue outside the Single Market, but Mr Macron vowed Tuesday to protect the bloc’s “integrity” at all costs.

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.