Macron on Brexit: “Door remains open” to take a U-turn

French President Emmanuel Macron says the “door remains open” for Britain to make a U-turn on Brexit, said The Independent.

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PARIS – Mr. Macron offered an ‘olive branch’ to British Prime Minister Theresa May in a joint press conference in Paris yesterday (13/06), stating that while exit negotiations should be launched “as soon as possible, the door remains open, always open” to reverse Brexit “until the negotiations come to an end.”

Ms May sidestepped a question about a change of tack on Brexit and instead insisted there was a “unity of purpose” in the UK about the decision to leave the European Union.

“I can confirm to President Macron,” she said, “that the timetable for the Brexit negotiation remains on course and will begin next week.”

However, they will ‘almost certainly not get underway next Monday as Ms May had promised repeatedly during the election campaign’ said The Independent.

Tens of thousands joined the #marchforeurope protests on 2nd July 2016 reverse Brexit
Tens of thousands joined the #marchforeurope protest in London on 2nd July 2016

German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble made comments similar to Mr. Macron’s just hours before the French President’s declaration.

If Britain wanted to reverse Brexit he said, “they would find open doors.”

Ms May didn’t respond to former Conservative PM John Major’s recent warning that striking a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) could spell the return of ‘hard men’ to Northern Ireland and an escalation of violence.

An Ulster Volunteer Force mural in North Belfast reverse Brexit
An Ulster Volunteer Force mural in North Belfast

Ms May said her commitment to the peace process was “absolutely steadfast. We continue to work with all parties in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in ensuring that we can continue to put in place those measures necessary to fulfil those agreements.”

She added that talks with the DUP would “give the stability to the UK Government that I think is necessary at this time.”

As kingmakers, the DUP are in a strong position to dictate terms to the Tories.

Aside from their much-criticised social conservatism – they are anti-abortion and anti same-sex marriage – they hope to maintain a “seamless and frictionless” border with the Republic of Ireland, despite having campaigned for Brexit.

All this talk of ‘open doors’ and a softer Brexit may be leaving some Eurosceptic backbench Tory MPs feeling rather uneasy.