James Forsyth

Macron charms, but won’t give ground on the City

Macron charms, but won't give ground on the City
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Emmanuel Macron is revelling in his new status as the preeminent politician in Europe. In his joint press conference with Theresa May, he turned in a charming performance highlighting the ties between Britain and France and urging the two countries to ‘make a new tapestry together’.

However, there was a sting in the tail. When Macron was asked about financial services and the single market, he emphasised that Britain’s choice was between Norway—full involvement in the single market but paying into the budget, accepting ECJ jurisdiction and free movement—and Canada, a much more limited free trade deal. Interestingly, though, he said he didn’t want to exclude any sector from the EU’s free trade deal with the UK. This implies financial services will have some access to the EU’s internal market, which is what the single market is, but not as much as now.

Overall, Macron’s visit when much as expected. This summit confirmed that Anglo-French security cooperation will continue post-Brexit, which makes sense given how much it benefits both countries. On Brexit, Macron didn’t really move position, which I don’t think anyone on the UK side was expecting him to. Indeed, the most significant thing he has said on Brexit this week, he said in Calais before he came here. There, he talked about how he wanted to ensure that Calais’ interests were protected in the negotiations and that the ‘speed of entry’ into the port wasn’t slowed down by Brexit.