French President Boosts Britain’s Hope of a Special EU Trade Deal after Brexit

By Matthew Radman, Stillman News Editor

In an interview with BBC One’s Andrew Marr, French President Emmanuel Macron said that the United Kingdom is allowed a bespoke trade deal with the European Union after Brexit, one of Prime Minister Theresa May’s objectives. Macron, however, warned that the British financial center could not enjoy the same level of access to the EU, and the deal would have certain conditions.

Over a year after the June 2016 referendum, which initially separated the U.K. from the EU, the public already had an idea of the scope of trade options that the U.K. will have going forward. Immediately following the vote, there was widespread concern over the fate of the future of trade for the UK.

However, Macron stated in the interview that the deal was “something perhaps between this full access and a trade agreement.” This is confirmation that the EU intends to hold a significant trade relationship with the U.K., who maintains a strong economy that rivals the EU’s strongest economy in Germany.

Macron emphasized that full access would only be reached if the U.K. is willing to “tick the box.” Those boxes include freedom of movement across the EU, budget contributions, and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

“There should be no cherry-picking in the single market because that’s a dismantling of the single market… As soon as you decide not to join the [EU] preconditions, it’s not a full access…What is important is to not make people believe that it is possible to [have your cake and eat it],” Macron stated.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May asserted in an interview with German newspaper, Gild that the new deal was “not about cherry-picking.” May continued on to say, “We want to negotiate a comprehensive free trade agreement and a security partnership… because we don’t start from the position of, say, Canada or Norway – there are significant and long-grown economic links between us…What I want and hope is that the importance of a lasting good relationship for people on both sides of the Channel is recognized.”

Macron repeated a message he had previously harped on that full access to the EU single market for the UK’s financial services industry was not in the cards. He maintained, “It depends on the proposals made by the U.K.,” he said. “But for sure, full access for financial services to the single market is not feasible, given the functioning of the single market – so by definition it is not a full access.”

In experts of the interview in English, Macron also said the door was still open for Brexit to be reversed, saying EU member states would become 27 “unhappily”.

Asked if it was inevitable that Britain would leave, the French President replied, “I mean, it’s on your own. It depends on you. I mean, I do respect this vote, I do regret this vote, and I would love to welcome you again.”


A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, January 30th print edition.

Contact Matthew at


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