French PM Bernard Cazeneuve and Jean-Claude Juncker vowed the UK will get a worse deal
Paris leader Bernard Cazeneuve vowed that the UK will be worse off outside the euro club after he met with the EU Commission president in Brussels this afternoon.
The two men stood side-by-side after what they described as a “brotherly” meeting, and insisted that France and the EU are united in their determination to punish Britain for Brexit.
France has been seen in Whitehall as one of the main blocks to cordial and constructive Brexit negotiations, with outgoing president Francois Hollande having taken a prickly stance towards Westminster.
The comments from the pair, who put on a very public display of EU unity, demonstrates the monumental task Theresa May faces in securing a divorce deal which all 27 other member states will agree to sign off.
The pair put on a united front as they talked about the upcoming Brexit negotiations
Their determined stance shows how difficult the Brexit negotiations will be
Speaking to reporters this lunchtime, Mr Juncker said: “His Government and my Commission agree every time. We have been talking about a number of important issues to Europe and France.
“We’ve been talking about the consequences we have to draw from Brexit so we can agree on a key aspect.
“We have to consider that the treatment that is going to be offered to the UK at one point shouldn’t be as favourable as the treatment that is offered to member states.
“This is going to be decisive in the details of the negotiations in the future.”
Cementing the closeness of the pact between the two men, he then added: “This was very friendly, very kind and brotherly meeting.”
Speaking afterwards Mr Cazeneuve, who will leave office with Mr Hollande in May, said that Britain had opted to leave the EU and that the negotiations should be carried out “in line with the spirit” of that decision.
He said: “We have to make sure that the negotiating method should be in line with the spirit of those who have decided to start this work. We have to follow the timescale. We shouldn’t be losing time and we should have the strong will.
“We have to make sure that the interest of the EU is protected and ensure that a country leaving the EU shouldn’t have better treatment than countries inside the EU. This is what France wants.”
Theresa May's Brexit plan
Mon, January 16, 2017
It's finally here!
1 of 7
Continued cooperation with the EU to tackle terrorism and international crime.
The pair also spoke about the “threat” posed to the European Union by the election of new US President Donald Trump, and vowed that Brussels will press ahead with attempts to improve its clout on the world stage.
Mr Juncker said: “Trump or no Trump, Europe has to carry on its path. Europe, in spite of recent events, should be playing an ambitious role on this continent and around the world.”
And Mr Cazeneuve chimed in: “This union is being threatened. There is of course this temptation to leave the EU which is being threatened by initiatives being taken around the world, including in America.”