Macron claims Brexit is ‘child’ of ‘lies and false promises’
The French President was a vocal figure in Brexit talks between the UK and EU, which ended with a trade deal after tough negotiations. Mr Macron fumed at the UK’s efforts to take more control of its fisheries, and even threatened to veto the deal late on in the talks. When the deal was eventually secured, the French President claimed Brexit was built on “lies”. He said: “The United Kingdom remains our neighbour, but also our friend and ally.
“This choice to leave Europe, this Brexit, was the child of the European malaise and of many lies and false promises.”
His parting swipe echoed his anger at the very start of the Brexit process in 2016 – when he accused the UK of “taking the EU hostage” with its efforts to leave the bloc.
A week before Britain went to the polls in the referendum on EU membership, Mr Macron warned that the EU needed reform.
He said: “I believe in Europe, but in its reorganisation.
Emmanuel Macron news: Macron accused the UK of taking the EU hostage (Image: getty)
Emmanuel Macron news: Macron has clashed with Johnson over Brexit (Image: getty)
“It’s the end of an ultra-liberal Europe that has lost its political direction. The European project cannot only be a system of abolishing rules.
“The issue is not whether we can be more competitive, if we should open up this or that market, it is whether we can succeed in living better, together.”
He also described the referendum as “dangerous” and said Britain had “taken the rest of the EU hostage”.
Mr Macron was France’s economy minister at the time, and warned the EU would need to act fast “to avoid other countries starting a similar process”.
He added: “There must be no question of Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland, deciding they want the same status.”
Mr Macron said that if Britain does pull out, it could have a “positive effect” on the French economy, and while it would create turbulence on the markets he did not believe it would last.
He said: “I think we have the collective capacity to reassure.”
In the aftermath of Brexit talks, the current French finance minister – Bruno Le Maire – has continued Paris’ criticism of the UK, claiming the French economy “won’t feel a thing” from Brexit while the UK will be a “big loser”.
As the Office of National Statistics (ONS) highlights, France is the UK’s fourth biggest trading partner.
Brexit news: Macron said the EU needed reform (Image: getty)
Brexit news: The UK and France have clashed over fishing during Brexit talks (Image: getty)
He said: “The nation that will come out weaker from Brexit is Great Britain.
“I regret that our British friends are paying the price of populism, lies and approximations of the (Leave) campaign.
“They led the British to believe they could leave the EU but continue to have access to European single market, which is one of the richest in the world. Well no.”
He added that Brexit would only cost France 0.1 percent of its economy.
Data from the organisation’s Pink Book for 2019 Goods and Services calculates that imports into the UK from France were worth £40billion, and exports into France from the UK were worth roughly the same.
Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts told Express.co.uk in December that Brexit would see the UK lose influence.
The member of the Brexit Steering Group in the European Parliament said: “I can recognise some people in the UK think the good old days of the empire can come back, and that Britannia can rule again. But this is over.
“The British people will soon realise they only represent one percent of the world population, and no, they don’t have an empire any longer.
“The only way to have influence is to be a part of something bigger.”
Brexit news: Le Maire said the UK would be a ‘big loser’ from Brexit (Image: getty)
Despite the criticism, Prime Minister Boris Johnson remained confident his Brexit deal could mark a new, prosperous era for the UK.
In his speech in late December, he said: “We will be able to set our own standards, to innovate in the way that we want, to originate new frameworks for the sectors in which this country leads the world, from biosciences to financial services, artificial intelligence and beyond.
“We will be able to decide how and where we’re going to stimulate new jobs and new hope, with free ports, new green industrial zones.”