Prime Minister Boris Johnson reached an agreement with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen last week to extend Brexit trade talks by one month. EU sources said the conversation had “not changed the game” but not “wasted”, with both sides showing determination to find “landing zones” in the most difficult areas. It comes after negotiators from the EU and UK clashed on their respective red lines, leading to stalled negotiations. Brussels negotiator Michel Barnier asked the EU to keep access to British waters, otherwise Great Britain would be excluded from European markets.
Speaking to the Netherlands – which also want access to British coastal waters – he said a deal “remains possible”, but “certainly not by sacrificing the interests of our fishermen”.
But in July this year, Mr Beaune warned that a deal could be blocked by France.
He said France will continue to take a strong stance on issues such as EU rules and standards, and the protection of sectors such as fisheries.
Mr Beaune said: “We have a negotiator – Michel Barnier, who is French – who once again this week is in talks with the British to try to find an agreement.
“But I will say one thing very simply: we will not accept an agreement at any cost because it is not in the interest of France or Europe.
“It is better to have an agreement, because it organizes our commercial relationship, it avoids having customs duties for example. We interact a lot with the UK, so it’s in our best interests.
“But there is no question that the British will have access to our markets without following our rules; our health and safety, food and environmental standards. We must protect our values. ”
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“So better to have a deal and we give ourselves the best chance of getting one. We still have a few weeks to negotiate it. But it is better not to have a deal than a bad deal.
“It would be a difficult situation and we would have to organize support for certain sectors like our fishermen. We are not there yet and that is not what I hope.
“But we must not be intimidated and I want to say to fishermen, farmers and other sectors that we will not be pushed around when it comes to our core interests.”