Brexit: You’ve got till 2019 Hollande warns UK

French president François Hollande has once again urged the UK to get on with the job of divorcing itself from the EU, saying France wants everything sorted by 2019.

Brexit: You've got till 2019 Hollande warns UK
Photo: AFP

While the British government has sought to delay initiating its departure from the EU, France has once again urged London to up the pace.

Speaking to France's legion of ambassadors in Paris on Tuesday the president François Hollande told the UK that there was no going back on the Brexit referendum so Britain should get on with it.

“The decision of the British people to leave the European Union was not a temporary decision, nor a circumstantial decision,” said Hollande.

“This decision was irreversible and we have to draw the consequences.”

While British PM Theresa May has insisted the negotiation process for leaving the EU will not begin until Britain is ready, France is keen for London to get on with the job.

May has persuaded the EU to give her more time before she triggers Article 50, which would be the starting gun on the protracted and no doubt painful divorce negotiations that would follow.

But Hollande would rather May get going as soon as possible because delaying the inevitable will be no good for anyone.

“This will cause uncertainty and instability, which would not be good for the United Kingdom nor acceptable for Europe,” Hollande said.

“For France, everything should be concluded by 2019,” Hollande warned.

The French President also reiterated a previous warning that France would not accept that the UK could have access to the single market without accepting the other main principles of the EU, which include freedom of movements.





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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.

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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.