Hollande urges Britain to open EU exit talks

French President Francois Hollande to seek explanation from British Prime Minister Theresa May on any delay on EU exit talks Photograph:( Getty )

Reuters Dublin, Ireland Jul 21, 2016, 11.37 AM (IST)
French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday he wanted Britain to open talks fast on quitting the European Union and would seek explanation from British Prime Minister Theresa May for any foot-dragging.

Hollande, who is due to meet Theresa May in Paris later on Thursday, told a news conference during a visit to Ireland: "I will meet Theresa May tonight. That will be the opportunity to hear the arguments. What is the interest of delaying? I would like justifications."

The French leader, who was speaking in Dublin where he and Irish Prime minister Enda Kenny issued a joint statement urging rapid exit talks, also said he would confer with German leader Angela Merkel after his meeting with May.

There should be no pre-negotiations before full and formal exit talks, he said.

Hollande added that Britain should not be able to access the EU`s single market without allowing free movement of EU citizens.

"Access to the single market cannot be guaranteed unless free movement of workers is respected," Hollande said following talks with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in Dublin.