French economy minister Emmanuel Macron told an audience in London yesterday that he wants Britain to remain in the European Union. However, he added that Prime Minister David Cameron will need to be more clear in his demands if he is going to achieve any real reform in the EU.
“I want Britain to be part of the club,” Macron said at the London School of Economics, adding, “But what is the question? What do you need?
“I am very much in favour of finding an agreement which would address the concerns of the people in this country,” Macron said. “But first you have to qualify your requirements. You have to say what you need.
“I understand about red tape, I understand about competitiveness, I think I understand about ins and outs, but we need a precise proposal,” he added.
Saying that it was too soon to get caught up in technicalities, Macron insisted that he wanted to focus on “what” reforms Cameron was looking for, rather than “how” he was pursuing renegotiations.
“What is your vision? What is your proposal?” Macron said, adding: “The question is not to discuss about how, but what?”
“Afterwards, I’m fine with discussing technicalities,” Macron added.
The French economy minister, who has previously warned the UK against pursuing an “a la carte” membership of the EU, cautioned yesterday that the UK referendum could be setting a dangerous precedent.
“With Greece, and with UK, you have a new form of referendum, which is, I want something for my country, which involves changing the life of the other countries, do you agree, or not?” Macron said.
He added: “All of us have to be very careful with this use of referendum, otherwise all of the other countries will be calling for referendums as soon as they have an issue with the common rules.”
Macron also likened Britain’s EU referendum to last year’s Scottish referendum, saying: “If this is a bargaining game, to say, I have to give my people, so you have to give me that, that’s a game you experienced with the Scottish in your country.
“That’s exactly the same thing.”