BRUSSELS LIVE: ‘There will be a PRICE’ French president Hollande delivers Brexit ultimatum

Saturday, April 29, 2017
By Paul Martin

FRENCH president Francois Hollande this morning delivered an uncompromising Brexit ultimatum to Theresa May and said Britain would have to “pay the price” for leaving the EU.

Sat, Apr 29, 2017

Arriving at a meeting of the 27 EU leaders in Brussels the furious Paris chief said the negotiations would be carried out “in the interests of Europe” and not the UK and said France would push for a hard line in the talks.

Mr Hollande, who is entering the last week of a disastrous four-year tenure in the Elysee Palace, said any settlement with Britain “doesn’t have to be punitive” but stressed it would have to result in the UK being worse off.

And he also insisted that Mrs May will not be able to use a strong mandate from the British electorate to try and sway the talks, saying the terms on which the EU will negotiate have already been set and are inflexible.

He told reporters: “This Brexit will be negotiated in the interests of Europe. France will play its full part to support the divorce so that the UK can leave under good conditions for Europe.

“There is inevitably a price and a hit for the UK for the choice it has made. It doesn’t have to be punitive, but at the same time it is clear that Europe will defend its interests and that the UK will have a worse position tomorrow outside Europe than it has today in Europe.”

On the June 8 election, he added: “It is an electoral argument I can understand but it is not an argument which will pay with the EU because the principles, the objectives are already fixed. This will be the line which has been chosen by the negotiator and there will be no others.”

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