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‘We are not a satellite of Brussels’: Tory Brexiteers fume at Emmanuel Macron’s plan for post-Brexit Britain to become part of new ‘EU-lite’ as Number 10 says ‘non, merci’
- Emmanuel Macron uses a speech to unveil a new ‘European political community’
- The French President suggests this may include Ukraine and post-Brexit Britain
- But Downing Street dismisses his proposal and says there’s no plan for UK to join
- Tory MPs hit out at Mr Macron for trying to make Britain a ‘satellite of Brussels’
French President Emmanuel Macron was today mocked by Tory Brexiteers for trying to make post-Brexit Britain a ‘satellite of Brussels’ with his plans for a new ‘European political community’.
Speaking in the European Parliament, fresh from his re-election last month, the French President outlined his vision for a new EU-dominated organisation.
The proposal, which has been dubbed ‘EU-lite’, would include both members and non-members of the EU.
Mr Macron suggested Ukraine could become part of an outer ring of EU cooperation while it waits for full membership of the bloc.
In a reference to Britain, he also floated the possibility of ‘those who have left’ the EU becoming part of such an organisation.
However, the French President’s plans were quickly dismissed by Downing Street, who stressed there were no plans for the UK to join.
And they also prompted the ire of Conservative MPs who campaigned for Britain to quit the EU at the 2016 EU referendum.
Emmanuel Macron’s proposal, which has been dubbed ‘EU-lite’, would include both members and non-members of the EU
The French President set out his plans in a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Monday
Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said there were ‘no plans’ for the UK to join an EU-lite group, adding: ‘We believe that post Brexit the UK is best placed to work in co-operation with our European partners’
Mr Macron’s comments prompted the ire of Conservative MPs David Jones (left) and Andrew Bridgen
Former Brexit minister David Jones told MailOnline that Mr Maron’s plans would be ‘received very badly in the UK’.
‘People didn’t vote to leave only to be stuck in the orbit of a sclerotic European Union,’ he said.
‘We are a nation with a global outlook, not a satellite of Brussels.’
Fellow Tory Brexiteer Andrew Bridgen pointed to Britain’s membership of NATO as of greater significance to Western security cooperation.
‘We are already members of another organisation that has guaranteed the security of European democracy for the last 70 years,’ he told MailOnline.
‘It’s called NATO and we are a major participant in it. France at times, not so much.’
Meanwhile, asked about Mr Macron’s comments, senior Conservative backbencher and long-time eurosceptic Peter Bone made use a vomit emoji, adding: ‘Probably sums up my view on this idea.’
Downing Street said today there were ‘no plans’ for the UK to join an EU-lite group.
Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: ‘We believe that post Brexit the UK is best placed to work in co-operation with our European partners.’
In his speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg yesterday, the French President said he was in favour of ‘creating what I would call a European political community’.
‘This new European organisation would allow democratic European nations adhering to our core values to find a new space for political cooperation, and security,’ he added.
‘Joining it would not prejudge future membership of the European Union, and it would not be closed to those who have left the latter.’
During a trip to Berlin later in the day, Mr Macron confirmed that Britain would be invited to ‘take its full place’ in the new community.
He admitted that Ukraine’s wish to join the EU could take decades, so the new organisation might act as a stop-gap measure.
‘Ukraine by its fight and its courage is already a heartfelt member of our Europe, of our family, of our union,’ said Mr Macron.
‘Even if we grant it candidate status tomorrow, we all know perfectly well that the process to allow it to join would take several years indeed, probably several decades.’