Tuesday 8 December 2020 8:05 am

Brexit: France reiterates veto threat over fishing rights

France is still threatening to vote down a Brexit deal it considers to “sacrifice” its fishermen, in what is the latest barrier in trade talks. 

French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune today said France would oppose any pact that “sacrifices” its fisherman. 

“On fisheries there is no reason to yield to Britain’s pressure. We can make some efforts but sacrificing fisheries and fishermen, no,” Beaune told RMC radio, reiterating that France would veto any agreement it considered a “bad” deal.

French President Emmanuel Macron has taken a tough stance in the Brexit talks and has indicated he is ready to abandon talks to focus on no-deal. 

Questioned on the prospect of a deal, Beaune today said: “I do not want to acknowledge a failure… I think we still have a few days to negotiate.”

The Prime Minister will fly out to Brussels this week in a last-ditch attempt to agree a deal with the EU. 

After a call between the two last night, Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen announced they would meet this week, the first time the two have met since January.

In a joint statement Johnson and Von der Leyen said that the “conditions for finalising an agreement” were “not there”. There remained “significant differences on three critical issues: level playing field, governance and fisheries.” 

Cabinet minister Matt Hancock struck a more upbeat, albeit cautious, tone in this morning’s broadcast round, saying a deal is “potentially do-able”. Speaking to Sky News the health secretary said: “What I can say is that I know that the PM is straining every sinew to get a deal”.