Hollande: Future of EU hangs in balance with British referendum

French President Francois Hollande said Wednesday that the future of the Europe Union is at stake in Britain's vote on whether or not to leave the union.

Hollande spoke after meeting in Paris with Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico, in comments carried by the AFP news agency on the eve of a landmark referendum in which Britons will choose between leaving the EU - the so-called Brexit option - or remaining in the bloc.

He said Paris would consider the consequences of a departure by the British to be "irreversible," adding that non-access to the European common market would be a grave risk for London.

Hollande, a moderate socialist, has advocated consistently for Britons to choose to remain in the EU.

Speaking earlier in the week, he invoked the historical and cultural ties that bind Britain to the rest of Europe, saying that Britain represents European values.

But he has also warned that a Brexit would have consequences for Britain-France relations, including in the management of a border crossing at Calais, which has been a magnet for irregular migration and potential asylum seekers.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

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