The French President with Boris Johnson in December 2019 – Christian Hartmann
Emmanuel Macron used his new year’s message to accuse Brexit of having been born of a European malaise and “many lies and false promises”.
In the French president’s annual address to the people of France, Mr Macron questioned the strength of Britain’s sovereignty following its departure from the European Union, which was officially completed at 11pm on New Year’s Eve.
Giving the speech from the Elysee Palace, Paris, he said: “The United Kingdom remains our neighbour but also our friend and ally. This choice of leaving Europe, this Brexit, was the child of European malaise and lots of lies and false promises.”
It comes after Downing Street recently accused Mr Macron of standing in the way of a deal because he was playing to his domestic audience ahead of elections in 18 months’ time.
Mr Macron added that “for the first time, a country – the United Kingdom – is leaving the European Union”.
“A few days ago, we reached an agreement to organise our future relations, defending our interests, our industries, our fishermen and our unity,” he said, as he added that France’s “destiny is first of all in Europe”.
“Our sovereignty is national and I will do everything to ensure we remain the masters of our destiny and our lives,” he said.
“But this sovereignty also acts through the stronger, more autonomous and more united EU that we have built in 2020.”
However The UK’s ambassador to France Lord Llewellyn said things were “running smoothly” following the post-Brexit arrangements having entered into force.
Lord Llewellyn visited the port at Calais and the Eurotunnel terminal “to see the situation on the ground”. He said: “Happy New Year to all the teams on both sides of the Channel working on New Year’s Day.”