British Prime Minister May meets French President Macron for Brexit talks


British Prime Minister May meets French President Macron for Brexit talks

Alex Lantier

4 August 2018

British Prime Minister Theresa May interrupted her vacation to meet French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday at his vacation spot at the Brégançon fort on France’s Mediterranean coast. They reportedly started a two-hour working meeting at 5:30 p.m. and concluded without either side making any statement or announcement to the press.

It was widely reported, however, that May’s visit was an attempt to convince Macron to back the “soft Brexit” plan she presented last month at her country residence at Chequers. The plan prompted a revolt inside May’s Conservative party that nearly brought down her government. In the lead-up to the Brégançon meeting, there were several reports that the Macron administration is the main obstacle on the European Union (EU) side to the adoption of the Chequers plan.

A senior Whitehall source told the Guardian: “The Germans are actually quite clear that they want to do a deal. May’s discussions with Merkel have been constructive. The Dutch have also been helpful. It’s the French that regularly pour cold water on everything that the British want. There’s no other nation anywhere near as disobliging. So this meeting is very important.”

Another British cabinet member said, “The French just say no to everything and, by a mile, are the most difficult ones, so if May can make progress with him that would have a disproportionately positive effect on negotiations.”

One can surmise that the decision of Macron and May not to issue any statement on their meeting was taken to avoid undermining EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, who is negotiating Brexit terms directly with London in the name of all 27 remaining EU countries,…

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