France offers Britain "red carpet" out of EU

PARIS Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:07am GMT

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PARIS (Reuters) - France believes Britain has many advantages to offer the European Union but if it chose to leave the bloc, Paris would not stand in its way, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is due later to give Britons a straight referendum choice on whether to stay in the European Union or leave, provided he wins an election in 2015.

Speaking on French radio, Fabius said Britain had "positive points" to offer Europe, but added that he had told a recent meeting with British businessmen: "If Britain wants to leave Europe we will roll out the red carpet for you."

The comment is a jibe on much-reported remarks by Cameron last year in which he offered to "roll out the red carpet" to French firms wishing to avoid high French corporate taxes by re-basing to Britain.

Fabius repeated France's view that there could be no "Europe a la carte" in which a country picked which rules applied to it.

"Imagine we are a football club. You join the football club - but once you are in, you cannot say ‘Let's play rugby'," he added.

(Reporting by Mark John; Editing by Brian Love)

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Comments (5)
Leomas wrote:
I see that nice Mr Fabius has missed the point. To fix his statement, If you join a Football Club then you should be able to object when some other members of the club decide they would rather everyone played Rugby instead

Jan 23, 2013 11:04am GMT  --  Report as abuse
CO2-Exhaler wrote:
I agree that Mr Fabius’s analogy is a pretty poor one. I would suggest my own variant: you join a football club, and everything seems fine for a few years, but then you are asked to engage in prize fighting on Saturday nights after the matches, and to mow the boss’s lawn on Sundays. When you object that you really only wanted to play football, you’re physically threatened, showered with insults, and told you can never leave (or else matey boy).

Jan 23, 2013 8:25pm GMT  --  Report as abuse
PeterFV wrote:
To continue this tedious football analogy …

Fabius wants to have keep lots of rather aged players on his team (because they were good once), and objects to those who laugh at own goals and have this irrational affection for winning. He wants to ensure that all players have boots of the same (great) weight and ensure no player runs faster than the slowest member of the team.

Football tickets will cost c. 30000 Euros each and transfer fees will have to be negotiated by the ECB since they will rarely be less than Belgium’s GDP. The pitch will have pink grass because a psychiatrist has decided this will reduce the players’ testosterone levels.

I can go on …

Jan 23, 2013 10:58pm GMT  --  Report as abuse
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