French President Emmanuel Macron said the Brexit vote was a big risk for the UK asking “yes or no on a very complicated subject” and believes French people would have voted to leave the EU given the same choice.
Macron made the comments in an interview on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show, which was recorded during his visit to the UK to hold talks with UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday.
In extracts released before the show aired the French president said he "respects and regrets" the decision but believes that citizens should have been asked "how to improve the situation" rather than going to the polls.
During the full version of the interview Marr asked if he thought the French would vote in the same way if they were asked if they wanted to leave the EU he replied:
“Yes. Probably, in a similar context. But our context was very different, so I don’t want to take any bets. I would have definitely fought to win."
On the issue of the ongoing negotiations for the UK to leave the EU, he said a bespoke Brexit deal would be possible but only if it were "consistent" with the European Union's single market.
"My willingness is not to unplug, as you say, the British City. I think it doesn't make sense because it's part of the whole financing of our European Union."
Macron said he had previously drawn upon the examples of Canada and Norway because, similar to the UK, any "special way" for these countries must not undermine the functioning of the single market.
Macron also broached the subjects of Trump's nuclear threats directed at North Korea.
He agreed with Marr's comment that "a lot of people in the world think this is just slightly unhinged and very dangerous," saying that the only way to proceed in this situation was to invite North Korea back to the negotiating table.
The French president cited China as a "critical country" in order to deliver this goal.
Macron will join other leaders at World Economic Forum in Davos this week, including Donald Trump who is the first U.S. president to attend in 18 years.