France tells British voters migrants will flow to Britain after EU exit

France tells British voters migrants will flow to Britain after EU exit

LONDON – Reuters
France tells British voters migrants will flow to Britain after EU exit

French police secure the area as workmen tear down makeshift shelters during the dismantlement of the migrant shanty town called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, March 3, 2016. REUTERS Photo

France warned Britain on March 3 that it would end border controls and let thousands of migrants move on to Britain if voters backed leaving the European Union. 

It also said it would open its arms to British-based banks wanting to flee an non-EU Britain and stay in the bloc. 

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron echoed comments by Prime Minister David Cameron that a migrant camp known as the “Jungle” in the northern French coastal town of Calais could move to southern England in the event of a British EU exit. 

Speaking ahead of a Anglo-French security summit in Amiens, Macron said a British exit would scupper a border deal that halts migrants in France but that Paris would be happy to accept bankers fleeing London. 

“The day this relationship unravels, migrants will no longer be in Calais,” Macron told the Financial Times newspaper, adding that rules allowing British-based banks to operate across the EU would be lost. 

“Collective energy would be spent on unwinding existing links, not re-creating new ones,” he said, a comment aimed at the view of British eurosceptics that a new deal could be made. 

Macron’s comments, which support Cameron’s argument that an EU exit after the June 23 referendum could undermine security, led television news reports in Britain, where opinion polls indicate immigration is the biggest concern for voters. 

Opponents of membership said the comment was part of a campaign to scare British voters into supporting membership. 

A British exit from the EU would rock the EU - already shaken by differences over migration and by fragility within the euro zone - by ripping away its second-largest economy, one of its top two military powers and by far its richest financial center. 

President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister David Cameron were meeting in northern France as part of a bi-annual summit also commemorating the centenary later this year of the Battle of the Somme in which 600,000 British and French soldiers died. 

Cameron was expected to also use the visit to argue that continued European Union membership will enhance Britain’s security as he lobbies for it to stay in the 28-nation bloc. 

“I am convinced that the UK’s membership of the EU gives us greater security and greater capacity to project power globally,” Cameron said in comments released by his office before the meeting in Amiens, 120 km north of Paris.

In a move that underscored big company concern over the impact of a possible British exit, Germany’s BMW wrote to British employees who make its luxury Rolls-Royce car about the risks of a Brexit, as leaving is known. 

“As a wholly-owned BMW Group company, it is important for all Rolls-Royce Motor Cars employees to understand the view of our parent company,” BMW said in the letter. 

“We believe it’s much better to be sat at the table when regulations are set and have a hand in their creation, rather than simply having to accept them.”