PARIS – French President Francois Hollande will visit five EU countries later in July to promote the European Union project, his office said in statement on Monday.
The trip in the wake of the June 23 referendum in which Britain voted to leave the EU is designed to “give new impetus”, it said. He will visit Portugal on July 19, then Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia on July 20, and finish in Ireland on July 21.
British Prime Minister David Cameron opened the Farnborough Air Show on Monday and called for a “massive national effort” to use the Brexit vote to address the UK’s productivity challenges.
Cameron highlighted that Britain’s output per hour is lower than Germany, France and the USA. He suggested that the most important infrastructure projects to develop were the country’s housebuilding, high speed rail way and superfast broadband.
He emphasized the following key areas he believed Britain could lead the world in: technology, life sciences, pharmaceutic and Fintech.
He also urged Britain to improve its trade and investment.
“We’ve got to focus on trade and investment like never before,” Cameron said. “But the fact is, despite all the benefits of selling goods and services abroad, just 11 per cent of British companies export. Of those who do, only 5 per cent of what we make and sell goes to fast growing markets like China and India. We still do more trade with Belgium than we do with Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore combined.”
“Some people can emphasise the importance of our European market and others say it shows how far we have to go in driving exports into the expanding market. Both of those readings are right and we need to do both things. We need to win in Europe and win in the rest of the world.”
“Now around the world middle classes are rapidly expanding,” he continued. “And those people want to buy British…They are starting to want to buy the things we are especially good at like our services. UK trade and investment has made great strides but we need a further step change in the pace and the effort and the activity we undertake.”
Cameron asserted that Britain must accept the reality of the Brexit and must make it work. He urged that it was in the UK’s best interest to remain close to the EU when it renegotiates new relations with the bloc.
“All I would say about the outcome is this: I believe it is in our fundamental national and economic interest to remain very close to the European Union, for trade, for business, for security, for cooperation. So let that be our goal,” he concluded.