Lady Brexit meets Monsieur Europe: May, Macron to have talks

Macron stressed in a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May that "the decision has been taken by the sovereign British people".

Tackling terrorism and rooting out extremism are the biggest challenges the two countries face, Mrs May said, referring to recent terror attacks in London, Manchester, and France.

May arrived in Paris with her leadership hobbled by a catastrophic election last week just as Britain heads into tough talks on leaving the EU.

French President Emmanuel Macron says that he wants Brexit negotiations to start as soon as possible, following a working dinner with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

May said major internet companies have failed to live up to prior commitments to do more to prevent extremists from finding a "safe space" online.

They had met at the President's Elysee Palace a little earlier to discuss business ahead of the start of Brexit negotiations next week.

The two are on opposite fronts of the Brexit negotiations - French President Emmanuel Macron wants the remaining European Union nations to stand tough and unite even more closely as Britain leaves.

Under plans being developed by Mrs May and Mr Macron, internet companies such as Facebook, YouTube and Google could be fined if they fail to remove extremist propaganda and terrorist material from their platforms.

After the Islamic State group recruited hundreds of French fighters largely through online propaganda, France has legislation ordering French providers to block certain content, but recognizes that any such effort much reach well beyond its borders. Among other things, the law requires telecommunications companies to keep records of all users' web activity for a year, creating data bases of personal information that the firms worry could be vulnerable to leaks and hackers.

The two leaders are also scheduled to attend a France vs England friendly soccer match at the Stade de France stadium in Paris.

As the teams emerged from the tunnel, the band and choir of the French Republican Guard played "Don't Look Back in Anger", a song which has become an anthem for Manchester after the city was hit by a suicide bombing last month.

A minute's silence was impeccably observed by the crowd of nearly 80,000 prior to kick-off, after French spectators joined in with the singing of the English anthem "God Save the Queen", the words of which were put up on big screens around the ground.

Mrs May paid tribute to the three French victims of the London Bridge attack.

A total of 130 people were killed on 13 November 2015, when the Stade de France itself was one of the targets, being attacked by suicide bombers during a friendly match against Germany. Some of the French crowd joined in with the English anthem.

Katz reported from London.

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