Brexit: Peter Bone criticises ‘unreasonable demands by France’
Peter Bone blamed Emmanuel Macron’s last-minute “wholly unreasonable” demands for pushing Brexit talks to the brink of collapse. Talks to reach a post-Brexit trade deal have been paused, because UK and EU negotiators say “significant divergences” remain. European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen and PM Boris Johnson will discuss “the state of play” later today, as time runs out to reach a deal.
Speaking to BBC Newsnight, Mr Bone said: “There seems to be quite a division in the EU with the Germans pressing for a deal, and the French saying no.
“I think, objectively, a deal is good for the UK and the EU. Sensible people in the EU say that.
“The reason the talks have broken down is because of last-minute demands from French which are wholly unreasonable.
“I have complete confidence in Boris and David Frost. Boris won’t come back with a bad deal. I am confident that Boris will be able to persuade the EU to do a deal.”
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It is understood the talks this week were thrown into chaos after France issued last-minute demands.
Mr Macron sparked chaos in Brusels after the French President was accused of trying to pushing the EU to hold out past the no-deal deadline on 31 December in a bid to extract further concessions from the British.
Other member-states like Ireland, which would be hit hardest by a no-deal, have said this strategy is too risky.
The divisions in the bloc worsened on Friday when German Chancellor Angela Merkel stepped in to urge both sides negotiating in London to move past their red lines to strike a deal.
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Chancellor Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said: “For the chancellor, and that hasn’t changed in recent weeks, the willingness to compromise is needed on both sides.
“If you want to have a deal then both sides need to move towards each other. Everybody has their principles, there are red lines, that’s clear, but there’s always room for compromise.”
EU sources said both Merkel and Von der Leyen had shown “absolute determination” to push the deal over the line.
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Prior to this, the French government had warned it could wield its veto if the deal failed to match expectations.
Clément Beaune, France’s European affairs minister and a close ally of President Emmanuel Macron, noted: “If there was an agreement and it was not good, we would oppose it with a right of veto.
Downing Street reacted in outrage last night to claims that the EU had issued a last-minute demand for a 10-year transition period for phasing in changes for European fishing fleets.
Boris Johnson and Ursula Von der Leyen will talk by phone on Saturday afternoon in a bid to thrash out an agreement.
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