parPARIS (Reuters) - La France continuera à adopter une ligne ferme pour défendre les droits des pêcheurs français dans les négociations sur le Brexit, mais un accord avec le Royaume-Uni est toujours possible, a déclaré mercredi le nouveau ministre français des Affaires européennes, Clément Beaune.
“We will not accept a deal at any price,” he told France Inter radio in his first public comments on Brexit since his appointment on Sunday. “Better to have no deal at all than a bad deal,” he said, adding that a deal was nevertheless the best outcome for all parties involved.
Britain and the European Union clashed last week over the chances of reaching a free trade deal, with Brussels deeming it “unlikely” but London hoping that a deal could be reached in September.
France is one of the coastal states that has pushed the most for EU fishermen to retain the right to fish in UK waters after a transition period ends at the end of this year.
Before becoming Minister for Europe, Beaune was European Advisor to President Emmanuel Macron. A self-proclaimed anglophile, he has advised Macron on Brexit negotiations since the 2016 referendum.
He said France would be “intransigent” on fishing, and not be “intimidated” by Britain in the “game” of negotiation.
“Let’s face it, if there is no agreement, it will be a difficult question,” he added. “We will have to organize a response for sectors like fishing. Provide financial support for our fishermen. We are not there yet. ”
(Reporting by Michel Rose and Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Gareth Jones and Peter Graff)