One of the leading candidates in the French presidential election has vowed to be tough on the UK when it comes to Brexit talks later this year.
Emmanuel Macron, whose En Marche movement is gaining ground with just over ten weeks to go before the first vote, has told Channel Four News that France must convey a message in its approach to Brexit talks.
“If your government decides to organise a Brexit, I will be pretty tough on it,” Macron said.
“We have to preserve the rest of the European Union and not to convey the message that you can leave without any consequence.”
He denied that such an approach would represent a “punishment” to the British people for voting to quit the EU, but he added: “You don't get the [financial services] passport and you don't get access to the Single Market when you decide to leave.”
Prime Minister Theresa May has already stated that the UK will quit the Single Market when it departs the EU, while many City representatives have also resolved themselves to seeking the best possible access for financial services.
However, Macron's comments nonetheless represent a tougher rhetoric than that espoused by EU representative Valdis Dombrovskis, who told City A.M. that Brexit had to benefit both European nations and the UK.
Macron will face off against politicians including the Front National's Marine Le Pen and Les Republicains' Francois Fillion in the first round of the presidential election in April.
Incumbent Francois Hollande has decided not to seek re-election, with his Socialist Party currently ranked as outsiders.