French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that the door was “always open” for Britain to remain in the European Union after Prime Minister Theresa May said Brexit talks would begin next week.
“Of course the door is always open as long as the negotiations on Brexit have not finished,” Macron said in a press conference.
But he also stressed that he respected the sovereign decision of the British people to leave the EU in their referendum a year ago, adding that the start of talks was an important milestone.
“We need to be clear and organised and once it (the Brexit process) has started we need to be collectively clear that it’s more difficult to reverse course,” he said at the Elysee Palace.
Macron’s comments echoed others by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.
“If they wanted to change their decision, of course, they would find open doors, but I think it’s not very likely,” Schaeuble told Bloomberg Television.
May repeated her plans to stick to her timetable of starting discussions next week despite ongoing negotiations to form a government.