The EU plans to punish the UK for splitting from the economic and political bloc by making Brexit as "painful as possible", French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen claimed on Tuesday evening (29 March).
The leader of the right-wing Front National party, who is behind centrist Emmanuel Macron in the latest Ifop poll, made the remarks ahead of the UK invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and starting divorce talks on Wednesday.
"The EU wants the divorce to be as painful as possible. That's simply because they can feel that other nations of Europe want to leave this political structure," she told BBC Two's Newsnight show.
"They don't want a domino effect. Blackmail didn't work, Project Fear didn't work either. So they have to try to make the separation as painful as possible. Will they succeed? I don't think so."
The comments were broadcast just hours after Mayor of London Sadiq Khan warned EU leaders that a bad Brexit deal would be "lose-lose" for the bloc and the UK as jobs, particularly in the financial sector, move out of London and Europe to the likes of New York and Hong Kong.
"The UK may be leaving the union, but London will always consider ourselves to be in the European family," he told a Brussels audience. "We will achieve remarkable things together as we go forward."
The two-year-long talks will be triggered once Sir Tim Barrow, the UK's chief representative to the EU, hand delivers the Article 50 notification to the EU Council around 12.30pm BST.
The move will coincide with the end of Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs), which will be followed by a statement from Theresa May.
"When I sit around the negotiating table in the months ahead, I will represent every person in the whole United Kingdom – young and old, rich and poor, city, town, country and all the villages and hamlets in between," the prime minister will tell the House of Commons.
"And yes, those EU nationals who have made this country their home. It is my fierce determination to get the right deal for every single person in this country."
She will add: "We all want a nation that is safe and secure for our children and grandchildren. We all want to live in a truly Global Britain that gets out and builds relationships with old friends and new allies around the world.
"These are the ambitions of this government's Plan for Britain. Ambitions that unite us, so that we are no longer defined by the vote we cast, but by our determination to make a success of the result."