PARIS (Reuters) - A British exit from the European Union would mark a defeat for Britain comparable to that of Napoleon Bonaparte at the battle of Waterloo, Le Monde, France's newspaper of record, said in an unprecedented English-language editorial on Thursday.
Le Monde said France and Britain, which is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the French emperor's defeat by European armies in 1815, are missing one spectacular achievement of Waterloo: two centuries of Anglo-French peace.
"Never again have we been at war with each other, except on rugby fields," Le Monde said in its leader.
"The country which cornered Napoleon cannot succumb to Nigel Farage. Today, we solemnly say to our friends across the Channel : beware, Brexit could be your Waterloo !"
Under pressure from Farage, leader of the anti-EU UK Independence Party, and from eurosceptic members of his own ruling Conservative Party, British Prime Minister David Cameron has agreed to hold an in-out referendum on Europe by 2017 after trying to renegotiate some terms of Britain's membership.
Le Monde said it was conveying its message in English to make sure it was heard across the Channel.
(Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Gareth Jones)