UK has duty not to make Brexit Europe's undoing, says former French PM

时间:2019-11-16 责任编辑:余偶 来源:澳门拉斯维加斯 点击:165 次

Britain has a heavy historic responsibility not to conduct the Brexit negotiations in such a way that it leads to the unravelling of Europe, the former French prime minister has said.

Raffarin is leading a French senate inquiry into Brexit and the building of a stronger Europe capable of withstanding populist forces. Speaking in London, he said: “There is no future in the idea of a deconstruction of , and because of that this will be a very, very heavy responsibility for Great Britain. And this responsibility will be historic.

Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the former French prime minister. Photograph: Etienne Laurent/EPA

“Brexit needs to be achieved without threatening the construction of Europe. The European public want a greater place for nations, for values … but they don’t want the deconstruction of Europe. So it is therefore necessary to avoid equalling the deconstruction of Europe, because that will whip up public opinion, one against the other.”

He said failure in the talks and an inability to reach agreement was a massive risk for both sides. “It is evident that European public opinion is under pressure from populists and nationalists,” he said.

There are fears in some European capitals that parts of the new US administration may be determined to use Brexit as a vehicle to undermine the EU, and that elements of the Conservative party would be willing to go along with this.

Raffarin, who was prime minister between 2002 and 2005, said there was a tension on both sides that each other’s motives would be challenged during the talks.

He claimed the advent of President Trump and his expected may be good for European unity. “If the new geopolitics is an agreement between American and Russia, notably to slow the penetration of China in the global economy, then that will help to bind the European Union back together.”

Insisting it was not part of the French state of mind to try to punish the UK for seeking Brexit, he nevertheless said Britain could not benefit from its departure.

“We are facing a paradox about how to make this negotiation succeed for both sides. The question is how to overcome this paradox. Everyone needs to have certain victories to satisfy the British public, but also the European side,” he said.

“That means from a European point of view that the new agreements cannot be better than the old ones – which might be difficult for the United Kingdom side to accept – while at the same time protecting the EU’s joint interests, notably on security and defence.”

He said he expected the issue of would be an early and difficult part of the discussions. “It is evident that opening the discussions with the UK by the European side asking for a cheque upfront might not look very favourable, but that’s what might happen,” he said.