France may veto Brexit deal: Europe minister

5 December, 2020 12:00 AM printer

PARIS: France could use its veto to block a post-Brexit deal with the United Kingdom if it does not meet Paris’ demands, especially on fishing, reports AFP.

Europe Minister Clement Beaune on Friday said, “If there’s a deal that isn’t a good one, we’d oppose it, every country (in the EU) has the right to veto” whatever emerges from the last-ditch Brexit talks going on in London. Beaune told Europe 1 radio, on Friday.

He said France would evaluate any accord itself, adding: “We owe it to the French and we owe it to the fishermen and the other economic sectors.”

Beaune warned that the risk of a no deal situation “exists” and that “we need to be prepared”.

“But I want to believe that we can have a deal and a good deal,” he said.

Negotiators on both sides are working day and night to agree on a deal in time to be ratified before December 31, when Britain will no longer be bound by EU single market rules under the terms of a post-Brexit transition.

But with the deadline looming, some of the EU’s 27 member states — led by France and the Netherlands — fear the EU Commission is ready to give too many concessions, especially on fishing, to win a deal.

On a visit to northern France on Thursday, Prime Minister Jean Castex had said French fishing would not be “sacrificed” for the sake of a deal.

“We obviously hope to obtain an agreement under the best possible conditions, but not under any conditions,” Castex said.