Bruno Le Maire, France’s Minister of the Economy, raged ‘Brexit is madness’ as London and Brussels remain stuck in talks in a final attempt to strike a trade deal before the transition deadline expires , the 31st of December. a phrase from the late author John le Carré to describe the departure from the United Kingdom as “political, economic and historical madness”. Asked during an interview with France Info TV on the possible impact of a no-deal Brexit, Le Maire replied bluntly: “The big losers from Brexit will be the British. ”
This is the latest in a series of attacks by Mr Le Maire aimed at Britain’s decision to leave the EU.
During the first moments of trade talks between the two sides, he warned EU member states not to make “further concessions” in the negotiations as this would have a devastating impact on unity in the bloc.
In 2018 he also launched a scathing attack on Mr Johnson and the Brexiteers, accusing those advocating for the UK’s exit from the EU of hiding its real impact from the public.
But in recent weeks, President Macron’s government has spoken out more and more in debates, especially on the issue of fisheries, which remains a major stumbling block in the ongoing trade negotiations.
He put pressure on the UK and the EU to agree on an agreement that would allow French fishermen access to British coastal waters, even threatening to veto any trade agreement that would not comply with these rules. red lines.
But Downing Street has firmly resisted these demands, with a House of Lords peer and former Conservative leader Lord Howard of Rising warning that Mr Macron must stop “acting as if France has a right of access to British fish. in British waters ”.
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Responding to the Minister, Lord Howard said: “Would the noble Lord the Minister agree that a strong element of Alice in Wonderland permeates our negotiations with the European Union?”
“Normally, when two parties negotiate a transaction that benefits both parties, the party that has the most to gain usually makes the concessions and is the party that makes the most efforts to reach a satisfactory conclusion.
“The EU makes a profit of £ 90 billion with the UK every year.
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“An example of this is that Mr. Macron acted as if France had a God-given right of access to British fish in British waters. ”
On Wednesday morning, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said progress had been made in trade negotiations, but it was not yet clear whether a deal could be reached.
She told the European Parliament: “I cannot tell you whether there will be an agreement or not, but I can tell you that there is a path to an agreement now.
“We have found a way forward on most issues, but two issues remain unresolved: a level playing field and the fishery.
“The governance issues are now largely resolved. The next few days will be decisive. ”
But a UK official threw cold water on Ms von der Leyen’s optimism and said: “We have made progress, but we are still very far away in key areas.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.