Emmanuel Macron says the 'door is open' for UK to remain in the EU
French president Emmanuel Macron has said the option for the UK to remain in the EU is "always open" until the Brexit negotiations are concluded.
Hosting Theresa May in Paris yesterday, Mr Macron was clear that he was not questioning the result of the EU referendum or saying he wanted to reverse the UK's decision.
His words echoed those of the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schauble, who said that "if they want to change their decision, of course they would find open doors, but I think it's not very likely".
The shape of the Brexit negotiations has been thrown into confusion by the Prime Minister's failure to secure the mandate she sought in last week's general election.
The clock is already ticking on the two-year Article 50 process, with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier complaining that there has been no movement on the negotiations since Mrs May triggered the Brexit process in March.
Speaking to reporters after talks with the Prime Minister, Mr Macron said:
"Of course the door remains open, always open until the Brexit negotiations come to an end.
"That being said, a sovereign decision was taken by the British people and that is to come out of the European Union, and I very much respect the decisions taken by the people, be it by the French people or the British people.
"In this case it's not for me to say whether or not this decision should be questioned... but until the negotiations come to an end, of course there is always the possibility to re-open the door.
"But let us be clear and organised, and once the negotiations have started we should be well aware that it'll be more difficult to move backwards."
Mrs May insisted that the UK's timetable to start negotiations with Brussels "remains on course and will start next week".