French finance minister warns UK on post-Brexit arrangement

  • The British pound surged against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday after the European Union indicated that progress has been made in Brexit negotiations.
  • But the French foreign minister subsequently warned Britain should not expect to keep the full benefits of the EU.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has reinforced his government's stance that the benefits of the European Union cannot be enjoyed by non-members.

Britain's relationship with the European Union after it exits the bloc on March 29, 2019 remains uncertain, as both Brussels and London attempt to finalize a divorce deal and a future trading arrangement.

Speaking at the MEDEF Summer University conference in Paris on Wednesday, Le Maire told CNBC's Joumanna Bercetche that all sides were willing to avoid a hard Brexit.

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire.
Eric Peirmont | AFP | Getty Images
French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire.

He warned, however, that Britain should not expect the best of both worlds.

"You cannot be out of the European construction, out of the European continent, and also benefiting of all the advantages of being a full member of the European Union," Le Maire said.

The British pound surged against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday after the EU's chief Brexit negotiator indicated that progress has been made in talks.

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, said Europe is prepared to offer an unprecedented partnership to the U.K.

"We respect Britain's red lines scrupulously. In return, they must respect what we are," he said before repeating that the EU's single market would not be compromised. "Single market means single market... There is no single market a la carte."