Emmanuel Macron has said he would “love” if Britain returned to the EU, adding the Brexit referendum was a “mistake”.
In the interview with Andrew Marr, the French President said he respected the vote in the Brexit referendum but regretted it.
He said: “It’s a mistake when you just ask ‘yes’ or ‘no’, when you don’t ask people how to improve the situation and explain how to improve it.”
During the interview, to be broadcast on Sunday, Marr asked if Brexit was inevitable.
Macron said: “I mean, it’s on your own. It depends on you. I mean, I do respect this vote, I do regret this vote, and I would love to welcome you again.”
He added the arguments made for Remain during the referendum were “too much favourable just for the City and less favourable for the rest of the country”.
Macron also said Britain could have a “special” deal with the EU after Brexit but said the UK could not have full access to the Single Market without signing up to its preconditions, such as paying into the EU budget, accepting freedom of movement and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
“There should be no cherry-picking in the single market because that’s a dismantling of the single market,” Macron told Marr.
“As soon as you decide not to join the preconditions, it’s not a full access.”
British politicians including Jeremy Corbyn have called for the UK to retain “full access” to the Single Market, which Theresa May’s Government is committed to leaving.
During his interview with Marr, Macron said it was important British politicians didn’t mislead voters what is possible.
“What is important is to not make people believe that it is possible,” Macron, said, at which point Marr interrupted with: “To have your cake and eat it.”
This is a reference to the line Boris Johnson said during the referendum campaign and when he endorsed a hard a Brexit.
He insisted Brexit could mean retaining free trade perks while regaining control of immigration, telling The Sun: “Our policy is having our cake and eating it...
“We are Pro-secco but by no means anti-pasto.”
Macron told Marr full access for financial services to the Single Market “is not feasible”, adding France and other countries were competing for financial services.
At a joint press conference in Sandhurst with Theresa May on Friday, Macron said a unique deal on Single Market access would be “hypocrisy”.
“There must be no hypocrisy in this respect, otherwise it will not work or we would destroy the single market and its coherence,” he said.