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FRANCOIS HOLLANDE

France’s Hollande says Britain must pay price for Brexit

French President Francois Hollande warned on Saturday that Britain must pay the price for Brexit as EU leaders met to adopt guidelines for negotiations.

France's Hollande says Britain must pay price for Brexit
Francois Hollande. Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP
“There will inevitably be a price and a cost for Britain, it's the choice they made,” Hollande said as he arrived at a Brussels summit.
 
“We must not be punitive, but at the same time it's clear that Europe knows how to defend its interests, and that Britain will have a less good position outside the EU than in the EU.”
 
Hollande, who is entering his last days as French president, dismissed suggestions that British Prime Minister Theresa May could strengthen her negotiating hand by winning a big mandate in elections that she has called for June 8th.
 
 
“I can understand the electoral argument but it will not influence the EU. The EU's principles and the objectives are already fixed, these will be the lines chosen by negotiators.”
 
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel also ruled out an advantage for May from a big election win.
 
“It's an internal problem she wants to resolve in the Conservative party, to have not a hard Brexit or a soft Brexit, but Theresa's Brexit,” he said.
 
“We are very united, you seem surprised, but it's a fact.”
 
The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier meanwhile said it was also in Britain's interests for the EU to be unified, as it would boost the chances of a Brexit deal.
 
“This extraordinary meeting shows the unity of the 27 on a clear line, but this unity is not directed against Britain, I think that it is also in its interest,” he said.
 

TRAVEL NEWS

Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

A week after chaotic scenes and 6-hour queues at the port of Dover, the British motoring organisation the AA has issued an amber traffic warning, and says it expects cross-Channel ports to be very busy once again this weekend as holidaymakers head to France.

Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

The AA issued the amber warning on Thursday for the whole of the UK, the first time that it has issued this type of warning in advance.

Roads across the UK are predicted to be extremely busy due to a combination of holiday getaways, several large sporting events and a rail strike – but the organisation said that it expected traffic to once again be very heavy around the port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone.

Last weekend there was gridlock in southern England and passengers heading to France enduring waits of more than six hours at Dover, and four hours at Folkestone.

The AA said that while it doesn’t expect quite this level of chaos to be repeated, congestion was still expected around Dover and Folkestone.

On Thursday ferry operator DFDS was advising passengers to allow two hours to get through check-in and border controls, while at Folkestone, the Channel Tunnel operators only said there was a “slightly longer than usual” wait for border controls.

In both cases, passengers who miss their booked train or ferry while in the queue will be accommodated on the next available crossing with no extra charge.

Last weekend was the big holiday ‘getaway’ weekend as schools broke up, and a technical fault meant that some of the French border control team were an hour late to work, adding to the chaos. 

But the underlying problems remain – including extra checks needed in the aftermath of Brexit, limited space for French passport control officers at Dover and long lorry queues on the motorway heading to Folkestone.

OPINION UK-France travel crisis will only be solved when the British get real about Brexit

The port of Dover expects 140,000 passengers, 45,000 cars and 18,000 freight vehicles between Thursday and Sunday, and queues were already starting to build on Thursday morning.

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