Brexit won’t break our ‘friendship’ with the UK, Macron tells May as he pays personal tribute to PM despite his hardline stance that helped her enemies in Parliament
- Mr Macron spoke at unveiling of memorial to British D-Day troops in Normandy
- French President insists it will be symbol of the ties binding France and the UK
- He told how Brexit ‘cannot affect strength of our joint history and shared future’
President Emmanuel Macron today assured Prime Minister Theresa May that Brexit would not break the ‘friendship’ between France and Britain.
Speaking at the unveiling of a memorial to British D-Day troops in Normandy, Mr Macron insisted it would be a symbol of the ties binding France and the UK.
He said at Ver-sur-Mer this morning: ‘Nothing will break them. Nothing can ever break ties that have been bound in bloodshed and shared values.’
The friendly approach contrasted with his hardline stance on Brexit that saw him tell other EU leaders that Britain must be thrown out of the bloc by the end of June.
Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron look out over Gold Beach at the inauguration of the British Normandy Memorial site at Ver-sur-Mer in France today
Mr Macron greets the Prime Minister during the Franco-British ceremony at Ver-Sur-Mer today
Mr Macron and Mrs May lay a wreath of flowers at the commemorative first stone this morning
Referencing the Brexit negotiations, Mr Macron added: ‘The debates taking place today cannot affect the strength of our joint history and our shared future.’
He also assured Mrs May of his friendship, adding: ‘Leaders may come and go but their achievements remain. The force of our friendship will outlast current events.’
President Macron also said: ‘I am honoured to stand alongside Theresa May today to launch construction work for the British memorial at Ver-sur-Mer.
‘The British people have long dreamt of this memorial. This is where, 75 years ago, on June 6, 1944, almost 25,000 British soldiers landed in France to free the country from Nazi control.
‘This is where young men, many of whom had never set foot on French soil, landed at dawn under German fire, risking their lives while fighting their way up the beach, which was littered with obstacles and mines.’
Mr Macron insisted the memorial would be a symbol of the ties binding France and the UK
President Macron said that Brexit would not break the ‘friendship’ between France and Britain
Mrs May was completing one of her last engagements as Tory leader before she steps down
He added: ‘It is time to remedy the fact that no memorial pays tribute to the United Kingdom’s contribution to the Battle of Normandy.’
Mrs May was completing one of her last engagements as Conservative leader before she steps down tomorrow and becomes the caretaker prime minister as her party chooses a new chief.
After her speech this morning, she looked out across Gold Beach with Mr Macron.
She was joined by defence minister Tobias Ellwood, head of the British Army Mark Carlton-Smith and Mark Carter, Chief of the Defence Staff.
Mr Macron spoke as veterans and world leaders gathered in a small village in northern France to begin a day of D-Day commemorative events.
Mrs May will shortly becomes caretaker prime minister as the Tories choose a new leader
After her speech this morning, Mrs May looked out across Gold Beach with Mr Macron
The 75th anniversary brought together veterans from Allied nations on both sides of the English Channel to witness the inauguration ceremony for the new memorial.
The monument, which overlooks Gold Beach, records the names of more than 20,000 British servicemen who died in the D-Day landings and Battle of Normandy.
Mrs May paid tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of the ‘greatest generation’ of service personnel who served during the landings.
‘If one day can be said to have determined the fate of generations to come, in France, in Britain, in Europe and in the world, that day was the 6 June 1944,’ she said.
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