France accuses UK of dragging its feet in Brexit negotiations

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(Bloomberg) – The UK is stalling in talks over a trade deal with the European Union and the outcome of talks remains “very uncertain,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told a parliamentary committee in Paris.The EU and the UK remain “extremely distant” on the subject of fishing rights and there is no convergence on the rules of fair competition, Le Drian said during a hearing of the committee foreign affairs Wednesday.

“The UK continues to delay talks on side issues and is playing with the timetable,” Le Drian said. “We won’t let the calendar take precedence over the content. It is up to the British to abandon the tactical postures and to take the necessary actions.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the coming days would be “decisive” for talks and referred to a similar set of obstacles when she addressed the European Parliament on Wednesday morning.

The EU is studying procedures allowing a possible agreement to enter into force, even provisionally, from January 1, according to Le Drian. He said the EU would not be forced to strike a deal by the timetable and that UK openings “remain insufficient to date”.

Brexit talks enter watershed days, says EU’s Von Der Leyen

“We hope for an agreement, but note that to date we are not able to obtain it,” said Le Drian. “Sometimes it’s better not to have a deal than a bad deal.”

Le Drian reiterated France’s position that fishing will not be used to compromise the British in other areas. He said the UK was still seeking almost all fishing rights for EU vessels in UK waters and there was a disagreement over access to the area between 6 miles and 12 miles off the British coast where France is claiming historic rights in the Channel.

© 2020 Bloomberg LP



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