Hollande Says Brexit Can’t Question EU Free Movement Principle

France’s President Francois Hollande said Saturday that the European principle of free movement can’t be called into question by the negotiations between the U.K. and the EU to end Britain's European Union membership.

‘’They’ve decided to leave. I believe the worst attitude would be to contradict their choice or to call into question the very bases of the EU. So we must go till the end of this negotiation, while preserving the EU’s principles, notably the free movement principles,’’ Hollande said Saturday in a speech at the EuropaNova think-tank conference in Paris.

Francois Hollande

Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

For the French president, the British vote in favor of the so-called Brexit triggered “not another crises but an existence crisis.” ‘’The British decision forces us to confront ourselves. The U.K. wanted to leave. I’m not sure this was its rulers’ intentions but today, they have decided to leave.’’

Hollande said the negotiations with the U.K. should also set some strict precedent as to prevent the EU’s dislocation.

‘’If a country can exit (the EU) without any consequence and if it can go on trading with us without abiding to the EU’s common laws, then it’s not just the U.K. leaving, the dislocation will occur,’’ the French president said.

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