Francois Hollande reiterates calls for speedy Brexit negotiations ahead of meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May

 
James Nickerson
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Hollande said he shares an approach with Merkel (Source: Getty)

While German Chancellor Angela Merkel was somewhat receptive to Theresa May's declarations that the UK needs more time before triggering Article 50, she may have a tougher audience in Paris later today.

French President Francois Hollande is in a more bullish mood, and has repeatedly said that the UK should trigger the mechanism under which it can leave the EU quickly.

Today was no different: Hollande, visiting Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny, said the UK should open Brexit negotiations without discussions "dragging on" beforehand.

Read more: Merkel welcomed the visit of May with a fresh warning that the EU will not negotiate before the UK triggers Brexit

"We have to open the negotiations, the sooner the better," he said, adding that "access to the single market cannot be guaranteed" unless the UK respects freedom of movement.

"The negotiations have to be triggered, enabling that there is a good negotiations, so that it discussions aren't dragging on, which will proceed negotiations.

"With Mrs. Merkel, we share the same approach. We have to open the negotiations, the sooner the better, in conditions that have to be established. Then let us move forward in terms of choices to make for all.

"Access to the Single Market cannot be guaranteed unless [the UK] say they will have free movement."

Read more: Conservative support jumps after Theresa May becomes Prime Minister

The Prime Minister has said talks of Britain's exit of the EU should be frank and open, though informal discussions have been prohibited until formal talks can begin when Article 50 is triggered.

Former foreign secretary Philip Hammond said to a select committee hearing, before he changed roles, that while bureaucrats in Brussels were eager for Article 50 to be triggered soon, there was more understanding among fellow nations and their leaders that more time could be needed.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the government told the high court yesterday morning that Article 50 will not be triggered in 2016.

Last week the Prime Minster, during a trip to Scotland, also said she would not trigger Article 50 until a UK-wide approach was agreed.

Meanwhile, May, during her first cabinet meeting yesterday, told her colleagues that while "Brexit means Brexit", the government will not be defined singularly by it, but by its social reforms as well.

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