Macron urges ‘rapid clarification’ on Brexit as May steps down

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President Emmanuel Macron wants to see a “rapid clarification” over Britain’s departure from the European Union after Prime Minister Theresa May announced she would step down next month, the presidency said Friday.

Macron hailed May for “courageous work” in seeking to implement Brexit in the interests of her country while showing respect for Britain’s European partners, the Elysee said in a statement.

But it added: “The principles of the EU will continue to apply, with the priority on the smooth functioning of the EU, and this requires a rapid clarification.”

Macron has taken a hard line on Brexit over the last months which has sometimes put him at odds with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has pushed for a more flexible stance.

Paris fears that repeated delays to Brexit — which is now scheduled to take place by October 31 — are interfering with the smooth running of the EU and Macron’s own plans for reforming the bloc.

The statement said that while France was ready to work with Britain’s new prime minister, “it is too early to speculate over the consequences of this decision” by May to step down.

May said she would quit as Conservative Party leader on June 7 and would remain as prime minister in a caretaker role until a replacement is elected by the party.

The leader of the party automatically becomes prime minister. Her plan to leave the European Union with a deal she thrashed out with Brussels had been repeatedly rejected by parliament.

A crowded field is expected to contest for the leadership, with hardline Brexit supporter and former foreign secretary Boris Johnson making no secret of his ambitions.

The Elysee warned: “At a time of an important choice, votes of rejection that do not offer an alternative project will lead to an impasse.”

Johnson has repeatedly said Britain should not fear a so-called no-deal Brexit.

Source: Business Recorder, Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2019