Responding to questions posed by journalists if he agreed with German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble who earlier told Bloomberg that Britain would find “open doors” if it changed its mind, Macron said: “The door of course is still open as long as Brexit negotiations have not been concluded, but a sovereign decision to leave the European Union has been taken and I respect that decision”.
Mr Macron welcomed Prime Minister Theresa May to Paris where the pair discussed Brexit, security issues and migration before heading to the Stade de France to watch the football friendly between the two countries which France won 3-2.
However, in Brussels, it was reported that the British delegation was unable to say on what date it wanted the talks to start when asked to do so by Michael Barnier, the European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator. “But until negotiations come to an end, there is always a chance to reopen the door”, Macron continued.
“Of course the door remains open, always open until talks come to an end”, Macron said, adding he respected the “sovereign decision taken by the British people to leave the EU”.
May said the British government was already working with social media companies “to halt the spread of extremist material and poisonous propaganda that warps young minds“, adding: “But we know they need to do more”.
May, who had called for a snap election in the hopes of getting an increased majority that could have strengthened her position before going into the negotiations, is now under pressure to resign over her Conservative Party’s failure in that election, which was held last week.
He told reporters outside 10 Downing Street at the time that “an exit is an exit”.
Speaking after terror attacks in Manchester and London, Macron said the two countries had worked on a “very concrete” action plan.
The two leaders agreed on an initiative to pressure tech companies to abide by their social responsibility of tackling online extremism and to create “a new legal liability for tech companies if they fail to remove unacceptable content”.
Mrs May said Britain was going ahead with Brexit and talks would start some time “next week”.