Brexit: France desperately wants a trade deal with the EU to consolidate its economy | Politics | News


Senior European adviser to President Emmanuel Macron said the EU could not be “weak” in the upcoming fight over access to UK fishing grounds and regulatory alignment. In a sign that attitudes are hardening across the bloc, French European Affairs Minister Clément Beaune insisted Paris would not approve a trade deal unless the UK abides by its sweeping demands. Mr Beaune said: ‘On Brexit, we could accept a deal that was too quick and too weak for convenience.

“It is in our interest and in the economic interest of many sectors in France, but we cannot be weak.“We cannot accept access to our market if they do not respect our rules on competition, environment and health.

“We cannot talk about sovereignty and independence if we do not pass the test of sovereignty and independence that Brexit represents.”

European capitals fear the chances of a no-deal Brexit have increased dramatically as very little progress has been made since June.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, will travel to London next week for emergency talks with his British counterpart with the ultimate aim of getting the process back on track.

The Frenchman will ask Prime Minister negotiator David Frost to release post-Brexit plans for UK industrial and state subsidy policy.

The conservative peer has asked his European counterpart, Great Britain, to work out his regime according to a “timetable dictated” by Brussels.

EU energy broker Angela Merkel said the next fortnight would be crucial to see if a deal can be reached.

At her annual summer press conference in Berlin, the German Chancellor said: “The crucial weeks are now approaching in which we must clarify future relations between Britain and the EU.”

Eurocrats have already warned Downing Street that negotiators have only two weeks to salvage trade and security pact negotiations.

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He said: “The UK is leaving the European Union, that’s a bit of context.

“But the UK honestly has a more political approach to the way it deals with this crisis. “


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