The French President is visiting the UK tomorrow and will meet with Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall at Clarence House for a quarantine-exempt event. Mr Macron and the Prince of Wales will be commemorating the 80th anniversary of General Charles de Gaulle’s appeal for French resistance during World War 2. He is the first head of state to visit since the coronavirus pandemic and this is the first announced engagement for the Royal Family in person since lockdown began.
A royal spokeswoman said Government guidelines on social distancing would be followed.
Sources at Number 10 confirmed that Mr Macron will also meet with Prime Minister Boris Johnson for a bilateral meeting in Downing Street ahead of Brexit crunch talks later this year.
Mr Macron is famously a Europhile and has previously played hardball with the UK in Brexit negotiations.
However, astonishing comments from 2017 reveal he once identified as a “hard Brexiter”.
In an interview with Monocle Magazine in March 2017, he said: “I’m a hard Brexiter.
“I think that Europe has made a mistake of negotiating the inter-governmental accord.
“It created a precedent, which is that a single state can twist the European debate to its own interests.
“Cameron was toying with Europe and we agreed to go along with it, which was a mistake.”
In the interview with Monocle, he made it clear that the UK must choose a model of a relationship with the EU that already exists.
He said: “Britain must understand that our interest in the medium to long term is to have clear rules.
“So if Britain wants to trade with Europe it has to choose a model, such as the Swiss, Norwegian, or Canada.
“We have to accept that there are losses. But it’s the British who will lose the most.
“You cannot enjoy rights in Europe if you are not a member – otherwise it will fall apart.
“Europe is what enabled us, since 1945, in an unprecedented way, to preserve peace, security, freedom and prosperity in our continent. The British are making a serious mistake over the long term.”
He went on to specifically call out Boris Johnson, who was a key leader of the Vote Leave campaign and was Foreign Secretary at the time of Mr Macron’s comments.
He also attacked Nigel Farage, who led Ukip for a number of years fighting for Brexit and is now the leader of the Brexit Party.
Mr Macron said: “Boris Johnson enjoys giving flamboyant speeches but has no strategic vision; the turmoil he created the day after Brexit proves it.
“Nigel Farage and Mr Johnson are responsible for this crime: they sailed the ship into battle and jumped overboard at the moment of crisis.”
Published at Wed, 17 Jun 2020 12:24:00 +0000