Gloating Macron warned Brexit Britain ‘will be as insignificant as Guernsey’ | UK | News
Despite Brexit trade talks being firmly in the past, debate over the UK’s future is still rife as the EU’s Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said the bloc’s unity has been strengthened. He said this week: “Contrary to what many predicted at the time of the 2016 Brexit referendum, Brexit did not trigger the end of the European Union but the strengthening of its unity. “Today Brexit has exposed the consequences of leaving the EU for all to see.”
The thinly veiled swipe comes after months of tense talks, and is only the latest in a sequence of jibes from Europe.
French President Emmanuel Macron was particularly critical of the UK’s Brexit plans during trade talks, and nearly stood in the way of a deal with the EU due to disputes over fishing.
But right from the outset Mr Macron was sceptical of how Brexit Britain would fair, claiming the country would endure “Guernseyfication”.
He said in 2016, when he was Paris’ Economy Minister: “If I was British, I would vote resolutely Remain because it’s in the UK’s interest.
“Leaving the EU would mean the ‘Guernseyfication’ of the UK, which would then be a little country on the world scale.
“It would isolate itself and become a trading post and arbitration place at Europe’s border.”
He added that within a week of a vote to leave, the European Council would collectively send “a very firm message and timetable” on the consequences of Brexit.
Mr Macron continued: “In the interests of the EU, we can’t leave any margin of ambiguity or let too much time go by.”
He also said he felt the 2016 referendum on EU membership was “dangerous” and that Britain had “taken the rest of the European Union hostage”.
READ MORE: Emmanuel Macron admitted ‘France would vote to leave EU’
As the transition period ended on January 1, the French President said: “The United Kingdom remains our neighbour, but also our friend and ally.
“This choice to leave Europe, this Brexit, was the child of the European malaise and of many lies and false promises.”
He also said that the trade deal agreed was “defending our interests, our industries, our fishermen and our European unity” before stressing the necessity of building “a stronger, more autonomous, more united Europe”.
Mr Macron’s sentiment strongly resembles that of Belgian MEP Philippes Lamberts, who told Express.co.uk that he could not be friends with Brexiteer politicians who “lied” to secure a leave vote.
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He said in December: “To voters I would say I understand their anger, it’s not like they made it up, so many areas were left behind so yes I understand that.
“But was Brexit the right answer to that question? I would say no.
“I do resent those who likened the EU to the Soviet Union, we are not forcing the UK to stay.
“We want to remain good neighbours, but the politicians who advocated for Brexit, many of them lied about the facts.
“I wish them all the best to face the consequences of what they wanted, because the future for the UK won’t be as rosy as they say it will.
“I can’t be friends with the likes of Nigel Farage, Iain Duncan Smith or certainly Dominic Cummings.”