Although France does not want the no-deal Brexit being considered by Boris Johnson, the UK’s new prime minister, it is prepared to deal with its consequences, said Amélie de Montchalin, France’s Europe minister.
Ms de Montchalin also reaffirmed the French and EU positions of no renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement struck by the EU and UK under Theresa May but rejected three times by Westminster.
“France doesn’t want ‘no-deal’, but we are aware that it might happen,” Ms de Montchalin told the FT. “I realise there are lots of scenarios where this ends badly. So we’re ready.” [...]
One of Mr Johnson’s biggest challenges will be to persuade Emmanuel Macron to make fresh concessions over Brexit. The French president has taken a hardline stance on the UK’s departure, blocking moves to offer Britain a longer Brexit extension back in April. Ms de Montchalin’s remarks suggest there is unlikely to be any softening from Paris.
“The withdrawal agreement is an agreement,” she said. “It wasn’t imposed on the United Kingdom. It’s on the table, the fruit of two and a half years of work, imposed by no one. It’s not open to renegotiation precisely because we worked to make it a balanced outcome.
“We’ve always said that the [accompanying] political declaration is, of course, open to discussion because it is supposed to define our future relations, and we have not yet finalised our position on that.” [...]
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