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17 February 2020

The Telegraph: Britain and EU will 'rip each other apart' in trade talks, says French foreign minister

The French foreign minister has warned that Britain and the European Union will "rip each other apart" in post-Brexit trade negotiations, stressing that the EU will defend its interests vigorously.

Jean-Yves Le Drian told a conference in Munich on Sunday that Brussels will be a tough negotiator when talks on a trade deal begin next month. 

Downing Street has said Britain wants a deal on the basis of "friendly co-operation between sovereign equals", but Boris Johnson is also preparing to dismiss demands by Brussels for the UK to abide by EU rules on tax and workers' rights after Brexit.

As The Telegraph reported on Saturday, Number 10 is understood to object to a number of stipulations in a draft negotiating mandate submitted to EU leaders by the European Commission, with some senior Tories describing Brussels' demands as "ridiculous". [...]

Mr Le Drian, a close ally of President Macron, warned that it would be difficult for the UK to get a free trade deal by the end of the year because the two sides are far apart on a range of issues.

"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," he said. "But that is part of negotiations – everyone will defend their own interests." [...]

Full article on The Telegraph

© The Telegraph

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