French politicians have made it clear on several occasions that France wants its UK ally to stay in the EU. France’s President Hollande has also repeatedly stressed his support in helping Cameron secure his EU reform deal.
While France has been quick to offer support to the UK staying in the EU, President Hollande has also warned reporters about the potential #Brexit risks: “I don’t want to scare you, I just want to say the truth – there will be consequences.” He said this would be felt: “in many areas, in the single market, in the financial trade, in development, in the economic development between our two countries.”
There is currently an agreement between the UK and France for France to process migrants seeking to enter the UK through France. This has led to concerns migrant camps in Calais may move to Dover if the UK was to leave the EU. However as this is not an EU agreement leaving would not automatically cause this to happen. Instead the agreement depends on goodwill from France.
The French economic minister, Emmanuel Macron, warned that “the day this relationship unravels, migrants will no longer be in Calais and the financial passport would work less well.” When asked to confirm if this would be the case President Hollande said the change would not put the historic relationship between the UK and France in question – but it would have an impact on “the way we handle the situation in terms of immigration”.
Why care about France?
There are roughly 400,000 British citizens living in France. France is also our third largest export market after the United States and Germany, responsible for over £18.905 billion of our exports.