EU 2.0? Macron cooks up new 'European community' and will invite Britain to join

10 May 2022, 10:05 | Updated: 10 May 2022, 16:21

Mr Macron said Britain would be invited to join a new European community
Mr Macron said Britain would be invited to join a new European community. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

French president Emmanuel Macron has suggested the UK could join a new "European political community" in the wake of Brexit.

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He said this new group could provide a place for "political cooperation and security" – but how such closeness would differ from the European Union was unclear.

Mr Macron, flush from winning re-election as president, is a passionate advocate of integration on the continent.

"This new European organisation would allow democratic European nations adhering to our core values to find a new space for political cooperation and security," Mr Macron said, speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week.

"Joining it would not prejudge future membership of the European Union, and it would not be closed to those who have left the latter," he added.

Read more: 'There is anger afoot': France is a 'divided' country, warns correspondent

Emmanuel Macron would expect Britain to be invited to join a European community group
Emmanuel Macron would expect Britain to be invited to join a European community group. Picture: Alamy

Later, the president confirmed Britain could "take its full place" in his proposed community, and would be invited to do so.

Mr Macron has previously talked about a system of European concentric circles, which would allow countries to participate in continental integration at different levels.

Any attempt to set up such a community would follow the bitter Brexit negotiations as the UK tried to leave the EU.

Read more: MPs demand French answers over Exocet missiles used by Argentina in Falklands

Tory Brexiteers have slammed Macron's plans, with former Brexit minister David Jones warning MailOnline that "people didn't vote to leave only to be stuck in the orbit of a sclerotic European Union" and cautioning that the UK is "not a satellite of Brussels".

While MP Mark Francois said: "The British people have not spent years wrenching themselves free of the overbearing EU, only to rejoin it, at the behest of President Macron."

The post-departure relationship has been rocky despite Britain and the bloc agreeing a deal.

It has seen Britain and France embark on a stand-off over fishing rights, while talk of the UK taking unilateral action over the Northern Ireland protocol is not going away.

The protocol was designed to ensure no need for a border on the island of Ireland but is hated by unionists for putting up friction on trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

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