France would cease keeping migrants in Calais and tempt bankers to relocate from Britain if the country exits the European Union, economy minister Emmanuel Macron told the Financial Times on Wednesday (2 March).
The comments come before Prime Minister David Cameron and President François Hollande are due to meet at an Anglo-French summit, with Britain’s June referendum on whether to remain in the European Union high on the agenda.
Macron told the newspaper that a so-called Brexit could scupper an agreement between the two countries that allows Britain to conduct controls on the French side of the border, and that Paris could seek to lure financial services to relocate from London.
“The day this relationship unravels, migrants will no longer be in Calais and the financial passport would work less well,” Macron told the newspaper, adding that Britain would no longer have full access to the single market once outside the EU.
Cameron warned last month that Brexit could mean British border checks being removed from Calais and that “there would be nothing to stop thousands of people crossing the Channel overnight”.
But campaigners in favour of leaving the 28-member bloc accused Cameron of scaremongering.
Ahead of the talks in the northern French city of Amiens, authorities demolished parts the so-called “Jungle” camp, where thousands of people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa had been living.