Paris | Brexit negotiations will be completed, with or without an agreement, by December 31, the French Secretary of State for European Affairs predicted on Wednesday, contradicting statements made the day before by European negotiator Michel Barnier.
“I don’t want us to go beyond the end of the year. We have to be able to finish in the coming days, this negotiation was to end at the beginning of November, ”said Clément Beaune on the set of BFM Business. “I think we will be finished before December 31.”
On Tuesday, Michel Barnier had indicated that the EU was ready to negotiate a post-Brexit agreement with the United Kingdom “until the end of the year and beyond” if necessary, refusing to have its hands tied by a deadline.
He thus intends to guard against the pressure of the calendar, even if it means accepting the shock of a “no deal” from January 1, if an agreement has not been reached when the United Kingdom – which has officially left the EU January 31 – will definitely abandon the single market.
“What Michel Barnier meant is that we must not put ourselves, Europeans, under the pressure of time by saying: we conclude such and such an hour, such a day, because otherwise it means that ‘we put ourselves in a position to make bad concessions,’ explained Clément Beaune.
“This is first of all what we gave ourselves as a date. Legally, on December 31, the United Kingdom becomes a third country, and we see what it does in recent days. And we have to give visibility to our companies, our investors, our fishermen, ”he added.
“If you think it’s not a good deal, then you better not have a deal. But we must not have a romanticism of “no deal”, it is not a good solution, “he added.