Emmanuel Macron has told the UK that it must choose between staying in the European single market and enjoying trade access for financial services, or risk the position of the City of London under a Canada-style free trade deal.
At a press conference following a summit with Theresa May at the Sandhurst Royal Military Academy, the French President said the UK could not enjoy the same trading terms as currently if it leaves the single market after Brexit.
The tough message risked putting a sour note at the end of a meeting designed to show the strength of Anglo-French relations, despite the UK’s exit from the EU.
The Prime Minister announced the UK would spend £45 million on security at the Calais frontier, increase efforts to reunify unaccompanied child migrants in France with family in Britain, and deploy helicopters to support French troops fighting Islamist terrorists in Africa. Mr Macron offered to loan the 950 year-old Bayeux Tapestry to the UK.
But asked about the EU’s refusal to negotiate trade access for British financial services outside the single market, Mr Macron said: “The choice is on the British side, not on my side. They can have no differentiated access to financial services.
“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... this is the system already in place for Norway.”
Earlier, the two leaders held talks on security, cultural and scientific cooperation, and migration. Mrs May invited Mr Macron, on his first visit to the UK as President, for a pub lunch in her Maidenhead constituency.