France accuses UK of blocking post-Brexit trade talks

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PARIS (AP) – On the eve of a crucial month of negotiations on a post-Brexit trade deal between the European Union and the United Kingdom, France has blasted Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government for it considers it a deliberate blockage and for its shelter unreasonable expectations.

The EU and the UK, which have 27 countries, remain deadlocked in their talks over future trade ties after a transitional divorce period ended on December 31. This has raised fears that no deal will be in place on time and that tariffs and other trade barriers are due to be enacted early next year.

“Negotiations are not progressing, due to the uncompromising and unrealistic attitude of the United Kingdom,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told his country’s ambassadors in Paris on Monday.

His comments underscored the recent tone of EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier that talks appear to be backing down.

Britain left the EU on January 31, but both sides hoped a chaotic Brexit could be avoided during 11 months of negotiations.

Both sides have said September will be a crucial month in the talks. The EU, for its part, is insisting that talks be concluded before November in order to allow time for parliamentary approval and legal scrutiny.

And Le Drian insisted the 27 would not give in to pressure from London.

“On Brexit, we have always been united and we have proven wrong to those who saw signs of a global implosion of Europe,” he said. “It is by remaining united that we can stick to our line of global accord.”

The main points of divergence seem to relate to the rules on State aid to enterprises and to fisheries.

The EU insists on a ‘level playing field’ for businesses on both sides, so that UK businesses cannot undermine EU businesses by ignoring strict environmental and environmental rules. social affairs and others. UK is also upset over EU demands for term access to UK waters

Both sides say they want to avoid a “no-deal” scenario before the next round of talks in London next Monday. They also said their divorce should not hinder cooperation in defense, security and crime.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who shared the floor with Le Drian, said the importance of cooperation between diplomatic heavyweights France, Germany and Britain will not remain the same if it is not coordinated with the EU headquarters in Brussels. This, he said, would lead countries like Italy, Spain or Poland to assume greater responsibility in shaping EU foreign policy.

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Casert reported from Brussels. Geir Moulson contributed from Berlin

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