Hollande Reiterates Support for Post-Brexit European Union
Posted by hkarner - 17. Oktober 2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal
PARIS—The U.K. shouldn’t get concessions on the freedom of movement while keeping full access to the single market after its vote to leave the European Union, French President François Hollande said on Saturday.
“The worst attitude would be to question the very foundations of the European Union…and that includes the free movement of people,” Mr. Hollande said at a conference on the future of Europe in Paris.
“If a country can leave with no consequences, if it can continue to use the single market and invest as before without having to follow the common rules of the European Union, then it won’t only be the U.K. that leaves, it’ll be a dislocation.”Meanwhile, a spokesman from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party said the German leader had issued a similar warning to the U.K. in a speech on Saturday.
The French leader has taken a firm stance since the Brexit vote in June, calling for a speedy U.K. exit and saying London risks losing its prominence as a European financial center.
He repeated on Saturday that the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU shouldn’t call into question the bloc’s mission, urging European leaders to give the EU “a new ambition, a new initiative, a new impulse.”
With anti-European sentiment running high in France ahead of elections in 2017, the Brexit vote has emboldened the far-right, anti-EU National Front, whose leader, Marine Le Pen, is calling for France to go down the same path as the U.K.
But in his speech, Mr. Hollande instead called for increased cooperation and spending on defense, particularly to deal with the terrorist threat and the wave of migrants that have traveled to Europe.
“Today, the greatest service France can provide to Europe is to contribute to common elements of defense and security,” he said. “All European countries must work together and participate in this effort.”