“There must be a threat, there must be a risk, there must be a price, otherwise we will be in negotiations that will not end well and, inevitably, will have economic and human consequences,” the French president said.
“Britain has decided on a Brexit, I believe even a hard Brexit. Well, we must go all the way with Britain’s will to leave the European Union,” he told a dinner in Paris attended by the EU commission president, Jean-Claude Junker, and the EU’s top Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier.
Hollande’s remarks echo a toughening of rhetoric by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and a hardening of positions in European capitals after Theresa May announced that the UK would begin formal negotiations by the end of March and indicated it was heading for a hard Brexit.
Hollande has long insisted that Britain would have to live with the consequences of exiting the EU, and there was no chance of any informal negotiations before article 50 was triggered to officially leave.
François Hollande has sent one of the strongest warnings yet that Britain will have to pay a heavy price for leaving the European Union, adding to deep concern in financial markets.