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6/14/17

Brexit: "the prodigal son" - EU tells UK its door still 'open'

France and Germany have said the UK could still stay in the EU, as Britain confirmed that Brexit talks would start on Monday (19 June).

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, made the comment after meeting British prime minister Theresa May in Paris on Tuesday.

Of course, the [EU] door remains open, always open, until the Brexit negotiations come to an end”, he said.

The German finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, told the Bloomberg news agency in Berlin the same day that “if they [the British government] wanted to change their decision, of course, they would find open doors”.

Macron and Schaeuble said they “respect” Britain’s decision to leave.

The French leader said: “I would like the negotiation and then the discussions on the future relationship with the United Kingdom to be launched as soon as possible.”

But he added: “Let us be clear … once negotiations have started we should be well aware that it will be more and more difficult to move backwards.”

Schaeuble added that Germany did not want to punish the UK for leaving. “We will minimise the potential damage and maximise the mutual benefit [of Brexit]”, he said. 

May’s Brexit manifesto said Britain would quit the single market and impose curbs on EU freedom of movement.

But she said on Tuesday June 13 “we want to maintain a close relationship and a close partnership with the EU and individual member states into the future”.

Read more: EU tells UK its door still 'open'

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