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Europe

No special dispensation for Britain in Cameron's Brexit deal, Hollande

media British Prime Minister David Cameron with Council of Europe president Donald Tusk in Brussels on Thursday Rueters/Olivier Hoslet/Pool

The European Union has not granted the United Kingdom any special dispensations from its rules in the deal struck with British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President François Hollande said after the 11th-hour agreement in Brussels on Friday. And he insisted that Cameron had accepted that the City of London would not have special status, compared to Europe's other stock exchanges.

"Today the UK has a special place in Europe, it has always had," Hollande told a press conference after the negotiating marathon.

Pointing out that Britain has never been in the eurozone and is not covered by the EU rights charter, Hollande went on to say that there had been "no special dispensations from the rules of the single market or UK veto over the eurozone, which is very important for France".

The concessions made to Cameron do not require changes to existing EU treaties, the French president said, but could be included in them "when there is a treaty revision procedure one day".

Another sticking point for the French government was the idea of different rules applying to the City of London to those that apply to other European bourses.

The same rules, with the same supervisory bodies, will continue to apply to all financial markets, Hollande said.

In a radio interview during a break in Friday's negotiations he warned of the danger of other countries being tempted to opt out if the UK does so in the planned referendum in June and promised to do what he could to keep the UK in Europe "but not under any conditions ... we can't give in to any kind of blackmail".

"We mustn't give the impression that Europe is self-service where you come and take what you want," he warned Cameron once the agreement had been reached.

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