New French Europe minister: Brexit deal possible but fish is importantChristian Fernsby ▼ | July 29, 2020
France will continue to take a tough line on defending the rights of French fishermen in Brexit talks but a deal with the United Kingdom is still possible, France's new European affairs minister Clement Beaune said.
Defending French fishermen boat
Britain and the European Union clashed last week over the chances of securing a free trade agreement, with Brussels deeming it "unlikely" but London holding out hope one could be reached in September.
France is one of the coastal states that has pushed hardest for EU fishermen to keep the right to fish in British waters after a transition period ends at the end of this year.
Before becoming Europe minister, Beaune served as President Emmanuel Macron's Europe adviser.
He said France would be "intransigent" on fishing, and will not be "intimidated" by Britain in the negotiation "game".
"Let's not kid ourselves, if there is no deal, it will be a difficult issue," he added. "We'll have to organise a response for sectors like fisheries. Support our fishermen financially. We're not there yet." ■