Paris/London, 4 December 2020 (dpa/MIA) – France warned on Friday it could veto an unappetizing post-Brexit trade deal between the European Union and Britain, as hopes dwindle of an imminent breakthrough in negotiations.
“If there was a deal and it wasn’t good and it didn’t – according to our evaluation – correspond to our interests, we would oppose it,” French Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune said.
“Every country has a right to veto,” he told Europe 1 radio, while stressing that Paris wants a deal.
France has been particularly vocal about the EU wish to retain access to British fishing waters under a future deal – an emotionally charged issue in coastal communities on both sides of the English Channel.
British and EU negotiators representing the bloc’s 27 member states are running out of time to reach an agreement that would cover terms of trade, but also police and justice cooperation, and social security arrangements to name a few.
Britain left the the bloc formally at the end of January, but is still in the EU single market until December 31st. If there is no deal by this deadline, the harshest of tariffs and cumbersome custom checks would be reimposed, wreaking economic havoc.
In London, British Business Minister Alok Sharma told the BBC that the the talks are in a “difficult phase” and that “there are a number of tricky issues that still have to be resolved.”
A Downing Street spokesperson would not comment to the Press Association news agency on whether talks would continue over the weekend, this being contingent on the results of Friday’s negotiations.