French Minister for European Affairs in Paris, Clement Beaune, sent a stark warning to the UK over Brexit trade talks as he said the EU would stick by its principles. So far, negotiations have made little progress as Brussels and London stick by their respective demands. EU negotiator Michel Barnier has warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the UK will be denied access to European markets if concessions aren’t made on fisheries and regulation. As the two sides search for a compromise, Mr Beaune told France 24 news last month: “We want to stick to a very simple principle that we have been repeating.
“Not only Paris, but the EU in general and Michel Barnier the negotiator.
“It’s a sovereign decision from the UK to leave the EU, I don’t think it’s a good decision in my personal opinion, but that’s a democratic choice that we do respect.
“But when you leave you have consequences, you cannot ask for basically full access to the single market and not have what we call a level playing field.”
When asked specifically about France’s stance on giving Mr Barnier more flexibility in trade talks to compromise, Mr Beaune said that is “not what we want”.
He continued: “We have a clear mandate on both sides, Mr Barnier’s mandate has been agreed by all 27 and it will not change.
“It is also based on a political declaration signed last year, both Boris Johnson and the 27 EU member states agreed.
“We are asking to be in line with this political declaration.”
The French minister also warned there is a “high risk” of a no deal Brexit.
Mr Beaune added: “We don’t want no deal, and we are not pushing for no deal.
“But we will not accept the UK to have access to European markets without a level playing field.”
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Fisheries has also emerged as a big issue, with French President Emmanuel Macron vowing his country’s fishermen won’t be “sacrificed”.
In fact, France has emerged as one of eight coastal countries in the EU pressuring Mr Barnier not to fold.
Mr Barnier has been to ministers from the Group of Eight, including Ireland, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, France and Sweden.
However, Michael Gove warned this week that the UK will not back down either.
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He said: “The Government’s view is that in all circumstances, the UK must be an independent coastal state, no longer be bound by the Common Fisheries Policy.”
The UK’s fishing industry employs 24,000 people, and contributes £1.4 billion pounds to the economy, according to a House of Commons research library briefing.
This is only 0.12 percent of GDP involving under 0.1 percent of the UK’s 33-million national workforce – but the issue has become crucial in Brexit trade talks.
Fishermen in the UK want the license to catch more fish than under EU regulation.