PARIS/LONDON – France will not rush to accept a trade agreement between the United Kingdom and European Union at the cost of its economic future, French Secretary of State for European Affairs Amelie de Montchalin warned. Speaking to France 2 TV, de Montchalin said she will have a “clear Brexit message” when she heads to Brussels for talks.
“Just because [British Prime Minister] Boris Johnson wants an agreement at all costs on 12/31 does not mean that we will sign a bad agreement for the French under the pressure of blackmail or timing,” she wrote on Monday, posting the video of her interview on Twitter.
She added that Paris is not going to “sacrifice” French businesses, fishermen, and farmers to secure a quick deal that should be signed before the deadline expires at the end of the year.
Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron hinted that the European Union is prepared to “take a hard line” in the trade talks, while fishing rights remain a sticking point in the negotiations. French President stated he doubts that the two sides will manage to hammer out an agreement by December 31, as the British are “hard to deal with” and he anticipates the talks to be “tense”.
It was the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who set the tight deadline as he brushed aside all the warnings and ruled out extending the transition period beyond the end of the year. British Prime Minister earlier stressed that he wants a Canada-style free trade deal, but refused to sign up to regulatory alignment, which would oblige the United Kingdom to follow the European Union on various standards.
“In the very unlikely event that we do not succeed, then our trade will have to be based on our existing Withdrawal Agreement with the EU,” Boris Johnson noted earlier this month.