During the EU summit France’s president Macron has implied that British citizens may be treated as third country citizens if there is a no deal Brexit. Macron confirmed that France would impose a visa system on the British who wished to travel to France if the UK leaves the EU with no deal or any special arrangements in place. A draft law has been put before the French Senate seeking to give the country’s government considerable powers of decree to deal with the problems arising from a no-deal Brexit.
Although Macron insisted that his choice of words were lost in translation and he was meant to say that visa will still be offering to UK citizens. The French government have stated that if visa restrictions were imposed on French citizens when entering the UK post Brexit then they will do the same for British citizens entering France. UK citizens currently enjoy visa-free travel in the EU, but that could change with Brexit. The UK is set to leave the 28-nation bloc on 29 March 2019.
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, Mr Macron said, measures would be taken to cover flights, ferries and businesses as well. The draft law that has been set in the upper house of the French parliament will allow the French government to set new rules for British citizens visiting France post Brexit. The draft has suggested that the UK will be treated as third country visitors – the same category as those from America and China. The language uses has implied that the bill may impose visas on British citizens although the French president says this is not the case.
But, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the bill also gives the government the power to adapt or suspend the need for visas and residence permits for UK citizens.
“I do prefer a deal and I want a deal, but I will never favour a bad deal,” Mr Macron said on Thursday.
“In case of no deal our responsibility is to ensure that the life of our people will not be so far impacted.”
Mr Macron described the “dynamic” of the Brexit negotiations as “positive because there is a willingness on the British side to find a solution”.
He said “now it’s for Prime Minister May to propose a solution, but we will not compromise on the key elements of the mandate we gave to [EU negotiator] Michel Barnier”.
For centuries, the French have not only been our closest neighbours, but also our bitter rivals. Depending on the decision Theresa May decides to make for the Prost Brexit plans, it could essentially have a very big effect on the relations with France in the future.