UK Can Cancel Brexit and Stay in EU as It Does Now, France Says

UK Can Cancel Brexit and Stay in EU as It Does Now, France Says

The UK can reverse Brexit and remain in the European Union on the same terms it has now, according to the European affairs minister of the French government.

France’s EU Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau said on Thursday that her country and other member states still did not want Britain to leave the Union.

“We have always said, always, that the door would remain open,” Loiseau told BBC Radio 4’s Today program, as cited by The Independent.

“We were not the ones who wanted to diverge from the United Kingdom. It was the British people who decided to leave the European Union,” she added.

“Sure, of course,” France’s EU Affairs Minister said when asked if the UK could remain in the Union on the same terms it had now, should it decide to reverse Brexit.

“[Like] every single member state of the European Union, we have one conviction, which is that the best possible status is being a member, the most profitable status,”

The European Commission has made it clear that if the UK completes Brexit now, and then decides to seek EU membership again at a later stage, it would have to reapply to join the Union in the usual way.

That would mean the UK would likely not be granted its old rebate and the opt-outs it current enjoys.

While saying the UK could reverse Brexit, Loiseau warned the British government against its strategy of trying to negotiate directly with member states to get a better deal than it would from the European Commission, the EU executive which officially handles the negotiations.

“There should be no mistake. Michel Barnier does not represent only the Commission. He is the negotiator for the European Union,” she said, referring to the EU’s chief negotiator on Brexit.

“He gets his mandate and his guidelines from the heads of state and government. And we have discussed it regularly at the level of ministers. We meet with Michel Barnier on a regular basis,” the French EU Affairs Minister added.

“So do the heads of state and government. So there is no difference between what Michel Barnier says and what we would say individually, each and every member state,” she elaborated.

The UK voted to leave the European Union on June 24, 2016, in a referendum with 51.9% to 48.1% for Brexit.

It is set to depart from the Union on March 29, 2019, as British Prime Minister Theresa May triggerred Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on leaving the Union back on March 29, 2017.

The UK and the EU are aiming at striking a Brexit deal by October 2018 which would allow the British and European Parliaments sufficient time to vote on it.

The deal will decide the future relationship of Britain and Europe after a proposed transition period of 1.5 years comes to an end, on December 31, 2020.

(Banner image: Nathalie Loiseau on Twitter)

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