January 31, 2020 / 5:40 PM / in 25 days

France's Macron warns Britain it can't be 'in and out' of the EU

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (not pictured) attend a joint statement at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Pool

PARIS (Reuters) - President Emmanuel Macron warned on Friday that although France wanted to forge close ties with Britain after Brexit, it could not expect to be treated the same way as when it was part of the European Union.

“You can’t be in and out,” Macron told the French in a televised address. “The British people chose to leave the European Union. It won’t have the same obligations, so it will no longer have the same rights.”

Macron said he would defend the interests of French fishermen, farmers and workers in the upcoming negotiations on the future relationship between Britain and the EU. “And in this negotiation, we will remain united, all 27 of us,” he said.

The French leader, a fervent European integrationist, has consistently taken a hard line in the first phase of Brexit talks.

French officials have warned they would only approve a zero-tariffs trade deal if Britain committed to keep its rules and regulations in line with those in the EU after Brexit.

Macron, who called Brexit a “shock” and the result of lies and false promises, also said it was a lesson for Europeans and that he would strive to make the EU more democratic, powerful and efficient.

Reporting by Michel Rose; editing by John Irish

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