France has warned that a Brexit without an agreement is increasingly likely, as one of Emmanuel Macron’s top ministers has set a deadline for an agreement. French Minister of State for European Affairs Amélie de Montchalin told a Senate committee on Thursday that somehow an agreement had to be reached within four months. This coincides with requests from French lawmakers for their government to remain firm on fishing in the Brexit negotiations.
“We must immediately prepare for all scenarios, especially that of a no deal.”
Brexit talks have largely stalled in recent weeks, with both sides blaming the other for lack of progress.
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At the same time, France has become tougher in its demands for Brexit, despite Barnier calling on the EU to back down in key areas like fishing.
In a report approved by the National Assembly’s European Affairs Committee this week, French lawmakers urged President Macron’s government to fight to maintain the right of French fishermen to work in British waters.
Jean-Pierre Pont, MP for Macron’s party, wrote the report: “The EU must continue to guarantee that fishing will not be sacrificed to save other sectors”.
Pont added later, “The government must remain as firm as possible.
A spokesman for the British government said the two sides had agreed to an “intensified” schedule of weekly talks throughout the month of July.
The UK has repeatedly said it will not accept an extension, despite pressure from the EU.
In a major turnaround on the British side, the government should now apply much lighter EU border controls on imports than it originally planned after the Brexit transition period.
The Financial Times reports that ministers have abandoned plans to introduce comprehensive controls after corporate pressure.