BREXIT: Path to trade deals will not be an easy one as France puts spanner in works
While the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost, pursues a trade deal based on the agreement between the EU and Canada in 2016, the path to such an accord will not be an easy one after the French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian has said that the two sides would “rip each other apart” as each sides moves toward advantage over the other, intimating that it is unlikely the UK will be able to achieve a free trade agreement by the end of 2020.
The UK government has already said that it wanted a deal agreed on “friendly co-operation between sovereign equals” at the same time ruling out any form of legislative alignment with the EU.
The United Kingdom formally left the EU a fortnight ago but is still operating as if it were still a full member under the transition period agreement which ends on 31 December this year.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference last Sunday [16 February 2020] M. Le Drian suggested
that the two sides were almost diametric on a “range of issues”. He said “I think that on trade
issues and the mechanism for future relations, which we are going to start on, we are going to
rip each other apart””But that is part of negotiations, everyone will defend their own interests.”
Mr Le Drian, a close ally of President Emmanuel Macron, is the latest senior EU figure to warn
that the negotiations will be difficult following on from European Commission President Ursula
von der Leyen and chief negotiator Michel Barnier who have both already cast doubt on UK prime
Minister Boris Johnson’s aim to reach a comprehensive agreement by the end of the year.
Formal talks on the future relationship are set to begin next month once the EU’s 27 members have
agreed a framework for union´s negotiating mandate.
By: GEO´ Newsteam
City of London Newsroom
Additional Reporting by Iain Fraser -Consultant Editor