Europe

French finance minister says UK exit from EU can only be bad

  • France's Finance Minister Michel Sapin gestures during Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting at the EU Council building in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday, July 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

    France's Finance Minister Michel Sapin gestures during Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting at the EU Council building in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday, July 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)  (The Associated Press)

  • U.S Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew gives a press conference with French Finance Minister Michel Sapin, at the finance ministry, in Paris, Tuesday, July 12, 2016.The British exit from the European Union makes deeper integration between eurozone countries even more necessary than before, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said Tuesday. Speaking after talks with U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew in Paris, Sapin said that American finance officials seemed to see things the same way. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

    U.S Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew gives a press conference with French Finance Minister Michel Sapin, at the finance ministry, in Paris, Tuesday, July 12, 2016.The British exit from the European Union makes deeper integration between eurozone countries even more necessary than before, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said Tuesday. Speaking after talks with U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew in Paris, Sapin said that American finance officials seemed to see things the same way. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)  (The Associated Press)

  • U.S Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, left, and France's Finance Minister Michel Sapin arrive to give a press conference at the finance ministry, in Paris, Tuesday, July 12, 2016.The British exit from the European Union makes deeper integration between eurozone countries even more necessary than before, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said Tuesday. Speaking after talks with U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew in Paris, Sapin said that American finance officials seemed to see things the same way. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

    U.S Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, left, and France's Finance Minister Michel Sapin arrive to give a press conference at the finance ministry, in Paris, Tuesday, July 12, 2016.The British exit from the European Union makes deeper integration between eurozone countries even more necessary than before, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said Tuesday. Speaking after talks with U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew in Paris, Sapin said that American finance officials seemed to see things the same way. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)  (The Associated Press)

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin says Britain's decision to leave the European Union "can only be negative" for the country.

Sapin repeated the point twice during a press conference Tuesday following a meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew at the French Finance Ministry.

Lew said Britain and its partners need to be pragmatic as the U.K. and the EU negotiate the terms of their divorce.

Sapin acknowledged being sad about Britain's withdrawal from the bloc, but said "we have to accept the vote."

He said he was pleased that a new prime minister was taking power sooner rather than later. He added that he hopes a consequence of that will be that Britain's formal notification to the EU about its departure "will happen as quickly as possible."