France will veto in the event of an insufficient post-Brexit trade agreement.
France will oppose its “veto” to a post-Brexit trade agreement if it does not meet certain requirements, particularly in terms of fisheries, French Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune said on Friday.
“If there was an agreement that was not good (…) we would oppose it”, he declared on radio Europe 1. With a veto? “Yes. Each country has the right of veto ”, he added.
France will do its “own assessment” of the agreement for this, he said. “We owe it to the French, we owe it to our fishermen and to other economic sectors,” said Clément Beaune.
The risk of a non-agreement “exists” and it “must be prepared”, he also repeated. “But I want to believe that we can have an agreement and a good agreement,” he also insisted.
Prime Minister Jean Castex hammered on Thursday that French fishing could not be “sacrificed as an adjustment variable” in post-Brexit trade negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
These negotiations, which resumed Saturday in London, still stumble on three points: the access of European fishermen to British waters, the guarantees demanded in London in terms of competition and the way to settle disputes in the future agreement.
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Final termination on December 31
Negotiators are under increasing calendar pressure as the final split between the EU and the UK will take place on December 31, when the British, who officially left the EU on January 31, will stop applying the European standards.
Without an agreement to govern their relationship, the two parties will trade under the sole rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), synonymous with customs duties or quotas. At the risk of a new economic shock on top of that of the pandemic.
According to a government source in the UK, the EU has brought unexpected “new elements” into the negotiations that could allow a “breakthrough”. The EU is only “a few millimeters” away from having conceded everything it could, European sources warned on Thursday.
In the absence of a compromise, Brexit could invite itself to the European summit on December 10-11 in Brussels, at a time when flaws appear in the unity of the 27.
According to several European sources, Germany, which holds the rotating EU presidency, and the European Commission want an agreement “at all costs”.
But some Member States, in particular those most concerned by an agreement with the United Kingdom on fisheries (France, Denmark, the Netherlands or Belgium), say they prefer a “no deal” to “a bad agreement”.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, for his part assured this Friday that the 27 would remain united “until the last second” of the post-Brexit negotiations with the United Kingdom, while France waved the threat of a veto if the deal did not suit him.
“We will hold out until the last moment, the last second of this process to guarantee unity between us,” said Mr. Michel when tensions arose between the Twenty-Seven in the home stretch of the talks. , especially in the area of fishing.