Emmanuel Macron has admitted that France would probably have voted to leave the European Union if it had held a referendum.
The French President said frustration at Brussels across the Channel could have boiled over to a Leave vote if they were offered a choice.
He said he opposes offered the public an ‘in / out’ choice on their relationship with the bloc.
Mr Macron also admitted that he is trying to use Brexit to lure businesses away from the City of London and to Pari1
In a wide-ranging interview with the BBC Andrew’s Marr Show he was asked directly if his country would have backed ‘Frexit’ if offered the choice.
He said: ‘Probably, in a similar context. But our context was very different.
‘I definitely would have fought very hard to wind – but I think it is a mistake if you just ask ‘”yes or no”.
But Mr Macron added that he would not want to place ‘a bet’ on the outcome of an EU referendum vote in France.
The French president was speaking to the broadcaster earlier this week when he visited Sandhurst to hold a summit on defence with Theresa May.
He also made it plain that France is trying to swoop in on the lucrative business in the City of London and lure them across the Channel because of Brexit.
He said: ‘Sure we want to attract maximum activity, why? Because this decision has an impact for a lot of players.
‘As a result of the EU referendum they will have to choose between the different cities, so there is a competition between the different cities.’
Rival financial centres like Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam are desperately trying to attract some of the City of London’s booming businesses.
It comes after Mr Macron made an audacious pitch for them to move to Paris to the world’s press in Downing Street while still a candidate last year.
In the interview, he also said that Britain’s financial services sector cannot get full access to the single market without paying into the EU’s budget.
Theresa May has said she wants Britain to get a bespoke trade deal with the European Union.
And she received a boost when Mr Macron have his support for a unique deal to be thrashed out.
But he warned the Prime Minister that there can be no ‘cherry picking’ of the single market and that staying in it would mean signing up to free movement. big payments into the EU’s Budget and abiding by the EU’s rules.