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France has sharpened its tone on fishing rights, warning that while a deal with the UK is an integral part of any post-Brexit trade deal, its proposals have failed.
“The UK has made unacceptable proposals so far,” French Minister of the Sea Annick Girardin said in an interview published in the Journal du Dimanche on Sunday. The country’s fishermen “are not wrong” in saying they would prefer no deal to a bad one, she added.
His comments were backed by Deputy European Affairs Minister Clément Beaune, who said France would not give in and an agreement was needed around the beginning of November.
“We must not lose our calm in the final days of negotiations because that is when bad concessions can be made,” Beaune told France Info.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has taken a similar position. He told French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday that Britain remained determined to seek a trade deal with the European Union, but not at any cost. Johnson stressed the need for a breakthrough in areas such as fishing rights and state aid.
The two spoke by phone days before Johnson’s self-imposed deadline to reach an agreement on the UK’s future relationship with the EU, according to an emailed statement from Downing Street.
Britain and the EU are still at odds over state subsidies for businesses as well as for fishing – Macron striving to maintain the same access to UK waters that his country’s fleet currently enjoys.
“We drew our red lines, which are access to fishing areas, quotas and species fished today,” Girardin said in the JDD interview.
“I think we can still get an agreement because there won’t be a comprehensive agreement if we don’t get one on fisheries”, but France “is preparing for all the results, which includes not get a deal, ”she said, saying.