May 10, 2022, 10:05 am | Updated: May 10, 2022, 4:21 PM
French President Emmanuel Macron has suggested the UK could join a new “European political community” following Brexit.
He said this new group could offer a venue for “political and security cooperation” – but how such closeness would differ from the European Union was unclear.
Mr. Macron, fresh from his re-election as president, is a strong proponent of integration on the continent.
“This new European organization would allow democratic European nations adhering to our fundamental values to find a new space for political cooperation and security,” Macron said, speaking this week at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
“Joining it would not prejudge future membership of the European Union, nor would it be closed to those who left,” he added.
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The president later confirmed that Britain could “take its full place” in his proposed community, and would be asked to do so.
Mr Macron has previously talked about a system of European concentric circles, which would allow countries to participate in continental integration at different levels.
Any attempt to create such a community would follow the tough Brexit negotiations as the UK tried to leave the EU.
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Tory Brexiteers have slammed Macron’s plans, with former Brexit minister David Jones warning MailOnline that ‘people didn’t vote to leave just to be stuck in the orbit of a sclerotic European Union’ and warning that the UK is “not a satellite of Brussels”.
While MP Mark Francois said: “The British people have not spent years breaking free from the authoritarian EU, only to join it, at the behest of President Macron.”
The post-departure relationship was rocky despite a deal being struck between Britain and the bloc.
It has seen Britain and France engage in an impasse over fishing rights, while talk of the UK taking unilateral action over the Northern Ireland Protocol does not go away.
The protocol was designed to ensure no borders were needed on the island of Ireland, but it is hated by Unionists for creating friction in trade between Britain and Northern Ireland.