January 21, 2016 / 11:12 AM / 2 years ago

French PM says Brexit would be tragedy, hopes for progress in February

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls attends the session 'The Future of Europe' at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

DAVOS (Reuters) - It would be a tragedy if Britain left the European Union, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Thursday, adding that he hoped an EU leaders summit in February would allow for progress toward a deal.

British Prime Minister David Cameron hopes to win a deal on reforms with the European Union at February summit, opening the way for a referendum on membership which could take place as early as June. He will also meet EU leaders in Davos to press his case.

“We must find a compromise, everybody is contributing to this and I hope that the February meeting will allow us to make progress, that at least it will be a decisive step,” Valls told the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“Seeing Britain leave the European Union would be a tragedy,” he added. “We must do everything for Britain and the British people ... to stay in the European Union. But of course not at just any condition, that wouldn’t make sense.”

Reporting by Stephen Adler in Davos and Jean-Baptiste Vey in Paris; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Andrew Callus

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