Britain will face "consequences" if the nation votes to leave the European Union (EU), France's economy minister has warned. Emmanuel Macron said the UK would "no longer be part of the club" and would have to negotiate a new treaty.
"We have to be very clear that a Brexit will have consequences," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show. He added that they would include access to the single market and changes to the rules about financial passports.
"Perhaps we can negotiate a treaty like we have with other countries but with a contribution to the European budget, which is one of preconditions and this contribution is an access, not automatically, to the fully fledged European market," he said.
He added: "That's the type of relationship we have with Norway and Switzerland. For sure you will have consequences. Otherwise, it doesn't make sense to have a European Union."
EU makes UK strong
Praising the UK as a "great country" Macron said that the UK's future "as a great country is not outside the EU".
"We need a strong UK and the UK is much stronger if you decide to remain and I think that is the critical issue," he said, adding that it was the "collective challenge" for the UK and the EU.
"If you leave some people, especially those involved in finance and probably tech, will leave to join the EU and work within the European Union because a Brexit will have direct consequences on the different sectors," he said.
Warning that Britain's ability to negotiate with other countries would be hampered if it leaves the the EU, he said: "Today you are strong because you are part of the EU."
"When you discuss with China about your steel industry you are credible because you are part of the EU not because you are just the UK," he said. "You will be completely killed otherwise. You will never be in the situation to negotiate face to face with the Chinese because your domestic market is not relevant to the Chinese. The EU is the first global domestic market. That's a strength."
Hinkley Point still has support
Macron also reiterated the French government's commitment to the £18bn ($25.56bn) project to construct the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant, after the prominent French politician Segolene Royal suggested it may not go ahead. He said the technicalities of the deal still had to be finalised but the deal was "very important" for the EDF energy company, which is 85% owned by the French state.
Macron's statement comes two days after Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble warned that Britain would face a tough time during its negotiations to leave the EU, in the event of the Leave vote being successful. Speaking to the German media during the IMF spring conference in the US, Schäuble confirmed that Germany and the UK would not come to a quick trade agreement in the event of Brexit. The minister had given a similar warning personally to Chancellor George Osborne earlier in the day.
A poll-of-polls of EU referendum voting intentions, created byNatCen Social Research, shows the British public is currently evenly split, with the Remain and Leave camps both at 50%. The referendum will be held on 23 June.