Friday

10th Apr 2020

Pay into EU budget for market access, Macron tells May

  • Macron: "If you want access to the single market ... it means you need to contribute" (Photo: elysee.fr)

French president Emmanuel Macron warned British prime minister Theresa May on Thursday (18 January) that if the UK wants to maintain the level of access for London's financial centre to the EU's single market, Britain would have to pay into the EU budget after Brexit.

"The choice is on the British side, not on my side," Macron said at the joint press conference.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"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," Macron warned.

"I'm here neither to punish nor to reward," he added.

The French president stuck to the EU's Brexit negotiating line when telling the UK prime minister that she either accepts the EU's rules to retain the City's market access, or negotiates a looser tie along the lines of a Canada-type trade deal with the EU.

"If you want a trade access, it will cover everything, but then it is not full access to the single market and to financial services," Macron told May.

He added that while he does not rule out including the financial sector in a UK-EU trade agreement, the level of market access will not be the same as when being a member of the single market.

May confirmed that the UK wants to leave the single market, but aims for a bespoke agreement with the EU.

"We recognise that as we're leaving the European Union we will no longer be full members of the single market," May told reporters.

London's financial services employ more than 2.2 million people and contribute 11 percent of economic output.

Macron travelled to the UK for the first time since becoming president last year, as Britain tries to strengthen ties before leaving the EU in March 2019.

Last year, Macron launched a charm offensive on banks in London's City to lure them to Paris.

He has already won one Brexit 'trophy' - EU countries decided last year that the European Banking Authority (EBA), one of the EU agencies that has to relocate from London, will be move to Paris after Brexit.

May and Macron emphasised the historic ties between their countries on Thursday in what was a cordial meeting, despite France holding the toughest line in Brexit negotiations.

The two leaders – meeting at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst – agreed to boost their defence cooperation.

Britain will send helicopters to help French counterterrorism operations against Islamist extremists in Mali, while France will send troops to a UK-led battle group in Estonia helping to deter Russian aggression.

France and Britain, the two European nuclear powers, account for half of the defence spending in the EU.

No jungle

May also agreed to sign a "complementing" treaty to the 2003 Touquet border deal, which allows British border checks to be carried out in France.

The northern French port town that had seen a large tent-city of migrants. The so-called 'jungle' camp was bulldozed in 2016.

Still hundreds of people camp out there, hoping to stow away on trucks heading for the UK.

The 'Sandhurst Treaty', as Macron called it, is aimed at speeding up asylum procedures by migrants, including minors, in Calais to prevent another tent-city from forming.

Against the backdrop of Conservative party criticism, May pledged €50 million to beef up border controls in the French port of Calais.

As a sign of goodwill, Macron agreed to loan a 950-year-old Bayeux tapestry depicting William the Conqueror's victory in the Battle of Hastings, which has never left France before.

Macron eyes France-UK border agreement

French president Macron wants the UK to take in more refugees as he revisits the 2003 Le Touquet agreement, which allows British border controls to take place inside French territory.

Opinion

Brexit deal not looking good

With so many vested interests, both economic and political, the negotiations with the EU are heading to a situation where the UK would remain too much involved with the EU, and paying too much.

News in Brief

  1. Migrants trapped on boat in Tripoli due to shelling
  2. EU anti-crisis budget 'could be up to €1.5 trillion'
  3. Western Balkan states appeal for EU help with masks
  4. Spain's lockdown could be extended until 10 May
  5. IMF: Pandemic crisis will be worse than great depression
  6. German economy minister expects progress on EU deal
  7. Italian PM: EU is at risk if no deal on recovery plan
  8. Belgian region to block EU Green Deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. How the EU's virus-alert agency failed
  2. Flemish nationalists torpedo Belgium Green Deal pledge
  3. Eurozone agreed €500bn cushion against virus blow
  4. Why Europe must act now, and on a big scale
  5. EU court blocks Poland's bid to 'frighten' judges
  6. Coronavirus sees approval-rating soar for EU leaders
  7. EU science chief who 'quit' had been told to resign
  8. EU delays 'exit strategies' plan, as WHO urges caution

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us