Le Maire Hopes U.K. Will Want to Rejoin EU in 10 to 15 Years
French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday that British political leaders lied to their people during the referendum on exiting the European Union and that he expects the U.K. may want to rejoin the bloc within the next two decades.
“Many British politicians have been liars and lied to the British people by explaining that it was simple to go out of the EU, that you could go out of the EU without having strong negative consequences,” Le Maire said at the Women’s Forum in Paris. “My deep conviction is that in maybe 10 to 15 years there might be a new referendum, when the British people will realize that this is in their interests.”
Le Maire’s comments come after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday night she had cabinet backing for her Brexit deal, but a growing revolt within her own party threatens to undo the plan and force the U.K. out of the European Union with no agreement. The document now goes to Parliament for approval.
Le Maire said he expects the parliamentary process to be more difficult, but he doesn’t think a second referendum in coming weeks or months would be possible.
The French finance minister has been a vocal advocate of getting a deal that would make it clear it is better for a country to remain in the EU. He said it was good news that the British government had found an agreement on a Brexit deal, but warned France would be very careful to ensure it does not damage the single market.
“I’m in charge of French interests, not British interests. My role is really to make sure that we do not take any kind of decision that might weaken the European construction,” Le Maire said.
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