Brexit: France and Ireland disagree over no deal prospect
On Friday, France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune publicly warned his country could veto any Brexit agreement if they were not happy with the terms. He said: “France is attached to the interest of our fishermen, we’re attached to trade conditions that are equitable. And I think this is also the case for our partners.
“If there was a deal that wasn’t good that according to our evaluation didn’t correspond to these interests, we will oppose it. We’ve always said that.”
Responding to the French Minister’s threat, Irish MEP Barry Andrews told Channel 4 News France is putting the livelihoods of European citizens at risk with its position.
He said: “We have to get a deal, no deal is not acceptable.
“If 98 percent of the text is already stabilised, there’s not enough between us to justify the damage to people’s livelihoods.
“I think it would be a failure of politics if we are this close and we still expose people to high degrees of unemployment as a result of no deal.”
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Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen are to hold emergency talks.
With time for an agreement rapidly running out, the two sides’ chief negotiators announced on Friday they were putting the talks on “pause” to allow political leaders to take stock.
In a joint statement following the latest round of negotiations in London, the UK’s Lord Frost and the EU’s Michel Barnier said the conditions for an agreement had still not been met.
After months of circling around the same issues, they said “significant divergences” remained over fisheries, the “level playing field” rules on fair competition and the enforcement mechanism for any deal.
While a series of deadlines have come and gone, this weekend is being seen as crucial if there is to be an agreement before the current Brexit transition period comes to an end at the end of the month.
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However, the UK side has accused Brussels of trying to introduce “new elements” into the talks at the 11th hour putting the chances of a deal in jeopardy.
They fear Mr Barnier has been coming under pressure from French President Emmanuel Macron, as the leader of a group of nations concerned that he has given too much ground to the UK.
He pointedly called for the negotiators to be given the “space” they needed to conclude their discussions.
But in a sign of tensions within the bloc, Irish premier Micheal Martin – whose country could be one of the biggest losers in the event of no-deal – complained some member states had been putting pressure on to gain “additional information”.
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Mr Johnson and Mrs von der Leyen are expected to speak by telephone on Saturday afternoon.
EU leaders are due to meet on Thursday for a two-day summit in Brussels – their last scheduled gathering of the year – when they could sign-off on any agreement.
Time then has to be found for both Houses of Parliament in the UK and the European parliament to ratify it before the transition period expires.
If there is no agreement the UK will leave the European single market and customs union on December 31 and begin trading with the bloc on World Trade Organisation terms, with the imposition of tariffs and quotas.
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