‘Macron’s panicking!’ Britons furious as France brands UK Brexit losers

Brexit: Macron has 'toned down' fishing demands says Xafa

Time is running out for a Brexit trade deal to be agreed between the UK and EU as the transition period ends on December 31. Both sides have still failed to reach a breakthrough on outstanding issues such as fishing after France has weighed in heavily on the EU side by demanding it keeps the same access to UK waters. Bruno Le Maire, the French Minister for Economic Affairs, said the UK would lose out at the end of trade talks, while calling Brexit “madness”.

Coining a phrase from the late author John le Carré, he added the UK’s departure from the bloc was a “political, economic and historical folly”.

Mr Le Maire told France Info TV: “The big Brexit losers will be the British.”

Express.co.uk readers shared their fury at France’s outburst.

One reader said Mr Le Maire’s comments sounded like France was “panicking” as the transition deadline looms.

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They said: “A bit late isn’t he? We’re already legally out, just tying up the loose ends as the informal transition ends.

“They must be panicking now. His tone would’ve been very different if we’d conceded on fishing.”

Another reader added: “Madness from the French point of view because they can’t get their own way.”

A third reader simply said: “Boris, keep up the good work and don’t give in to them.”

The UK is aiming to shut down EU boats’ access to its waters after the transition period.

But the EU is seeking three months’ notice for its fleet, with the possibility of compensation or the ability to retaliate.

The UK is also refusing access to the zone six to 12 miles from the British coastline, which is where French and Belgian fishing boats work.

EU Commission Present Ursula Von der Leyen also told MEPs the issues on fishing could ruin a chance of a deal being agreed.

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She said: “The discussion is still very difficult.

“We do not question the UK sovereignty on its own waters. But we ask for predictability and stability for our fishermen and our fisherwomen.

“And in all honesty, it sometimes feels that we will not be able to resolve this question. But we must continue to try finding a solution. And it is the only responsible and right course of action.”

Meanwhile, Cabinet Officer Michael Gove has insisted “fishermen know we will be in control of our waters”.

He added the UK is “going the extra mile” in continuing talks with the EU to see if a deal on future arrangements can be reached.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Gove said: “Intensive talks are ongoing with both negotiating teams working day and night to reach a deal.

“We’re going the extra mile in continuing the negotiations to see whether or not an agreement can be reached and we will continue to keep Parliament informed on our progress.”

Mr Gove also said MPs would be expected to approve legislation before the end of the year to give effect to any deal agreed between the UK and EU.

He said: “If it is the case the negotiations are concluded satisfactorily then we will request that the House returns in order to make sure that we can legislate effectively, and we believe we can pass the necessary legislation before December 31 to give businesses legal certainty for the future.”

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