08:47 GMT27 February 2020
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    The French president addressed a conference of diplomats on Monday and urged France to take a more assertive role in international affairs. The comments follow developments surrounding Britain's European Union withdrawal plans, criticising them for "threatening" the bloc.

    French president Emmanuel Macron announced at the annual Ambassador's Conference speech on Monday that ties between the UK and France would not come at the European Union's expense. 

    His 90-minute long address to French ambassadors and diplomats demanded clear expectations for the French state, including resisting unilateral US sanctions, deepening continental-wide Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) ties, and boosting the EU's trade presence globally. 

    "Multilateralism is going through a major crisis which collides with all our diplomatic activity, above all because of US policy," he asserted as quoted by the Daily Mail.  

    The French leader assured that he wanted to maintain a "strong, special relationship with London", but not at the cost of ‘unravelling' the European Union. 

    Macron also noted that the UK's Brexit decision was "a sovereign choice, which we must respect, but it cannot come at the expense of the European Union's integrity." 

    "The French president has made it plain that the Chequers plan leaves Britain half in, half out of the EU and that breaches his red lines," Brexit frontman Jacob Rees-Mogg stated as quoted by Politics Home. "Rather than flog this dead horse we should return to efforts to secure a Canada-style free trade deal." 

    READ MORE: Professor Speaks About 'Very Little Chance of Succeeding' in May, Macron Talks

    Macron's comments come on the wake of the UK's proposed Chequers Brexit strategy, which many MPs have also condemned as "dead in the water".  

    "It appears that, with less than two months remaining before the crucial EU Council summit, Theresa May's Chequers proposal is dead in the water," Labour MP and pro-EU People's Vote campaigner Ian Murray scoffed.  

    "Persisting with the Chequers car crash, and praying for a last-minute change of heart from the EU, is not a credible negotiating strategy. It simply increases the chances of a disastrous no deal Brexit. 

    Despite President Macron's harsh criticisms and parliamentary detractors, the UK was still the third-largest contributor to the EU budget, according to figures from independent charity Full Fact.

    READ MORE: Media Concerned 'Sun King 2.0' Macron Risks Going Down Path of Authoritarianism 

    Looking at the economic data, France would need to address the dire shortage in EU funds following Britain's withdrawal from the Union. 

    Using EU Commission statistics, the charity argued that the UK contributed 13 percent of Europe's total budget from 2014 to 2017, ranking third after France and Germany.  

    Based on net contributions alone, the UK is the sixth-ranked country to pay more than it receives per Gross National Income (GNI) between 2014 to 2016, after Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, and France.  

    A March 23 2018 parliamentary document seconds this observation, noting that the "HM Treasury estimate that in 2017 the UK made a gross contribution of £13.0 billion to the EU budget" before rebates and £8.9 billion after rebate deductions. It also remarked that net contributions fluctuate annually, based on the EU budgetary demands, programs funded, and EU rebates offered. 

    Based on Britain's EU withdrawal terms, the UK government may or may not contribute these vital funds to the EU Commission, risking a severe budgetary shortage on Brussels' end.  

    However, the UK will continue contributing to some programs where it receives funding up to 2022. 

    The document also estimates that the UK withdrawal ‘divorce bill' may amount to £35 billion to £39 billion, but the actual payment is uncertain as no deal has currently been reached. 

    READ MORE: France's Macron Backs Tory MP Campaigning Against No-Deal Brexit

    "It is difficult to estimate any future payments. It is fair to say that the greater the UK's access to EU programmes and the single market, the larger its ongoing payments will be," the document states. "We are not able to forecast how spending will be affected after the UK leaves the EU." 

    Analysts have commented on the risky gamble of Macron's severe principles on Brexit. "There is a risk of a no deal but I think of a no deal, but I think both sides will realize that a no deal has damaging consequences for not just the UK but for the EU too,” London School of Economics and Political Science professor Iain Begg told Sputnik August 3.

    "It will disrupt trade and lead to uncertainty and nobody likes to have that kind of outcome.”


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