Nathalie Loiseau said that a deal was still possible between the two sides but that Britain needed to give into EU demands. Sky News’ Sophy Ridge questioned whether the EU itself should compromise, given its “hardline stance”. Ms Louiseau, a former Europe minister, hit back, claiming the UK needed to be “more realistic” in the post-Brexit trade talks.
In a bombshell admission, the French MEP, who is a senior ally of French President Emmanuel Macron, said Brussels was making “unprecedented demands” in the talks.
This comes after the UK’s fishing industry accused the EU of using a “nuclear option” to secure a Brexit deal, warning that it is prepared for blockades by the French if trade talks collapse.
Sophy Ridge asked Ms Loiseau: “The EU is taking quite a hardline stance.
“They want to maintain existing access on fishing, they are asking the UK to sign up to unprecedented commitment on regulations and standards.
“Compromise needs to come from the EU as well doesn’t it?”
Nathalie Loiseau said that a deal was still possible between the two sides
Earlier this week, EU negotiator Michel Barnier accused the UK of “backtracking” on its commitments
The French MEP responded: “We signed that we were both interested in high environmental and labour standards.
“We have to translate that into a legal text, we cannot live with just words, and people telling us to trust them. Write it down! That is where the problem lies.”
She also hit out at Britain for “distancing itself from the agreed withdrawal text”.
Earlier this week, EU negotiator Michel Barnier accused the UK of “backtracking” on its commitments.
The MEP also hit out at Britain for “distancing itself from the agreed withdrawal text”
Ms Loiseau continued: “When you talk about unprecedented provisions, the UK is not Japan, the UK is not Canada.
“The British negotiators are asking for provisions that have never been in a trade agreement that the EU has signed with another partner. We are building something new but we have to protect our interests.
“We can’t let our economies and businesses suffer because of Brexit, especially at this times of pandemic and economic crisis.
“It is unprecedented but we have to protect what we stand for and what we believe in and at the end of the day, never ask the EU negotiator not to protect European interests, it is obvious.”
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Louiseau, a former Europe minister, hit back, claiming the UK needed to be “more realistic” in the post-Brexit trade talks
Ms Loiseau added: “For the time being, the UK negotiator is asking, for instance, for freedom of movement for service providers coming from the UK – we have never provided it to any of our trade partners.
“He is asking for reciprocity in terms of professional qualifications. This is something that we provide only to member states. So the UK side has to become more realistic.”
UK fishing leaders have revealed they do not support an extension to the transition period despite being hit badly by the pandemic.
Barrie Deas, the chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations said the industry is relishing breaking out from the common fisheries policy.
Mr Deas claims the EU’s “hardline position” involves zero compromise and “requires capitulation” by the UK over its demands for a fairer share of the catch from British waters.