Great Britain

Emmanuel Macron takes swipe at ‘very hard’ Brits over Brexit trade talks

Mr Macron made the admission in a meeting with fishermen in Paris. The EU and UK have less than a year to negotiate a free trade agreement before the end of the Brexit transition, with Britain potentially having to proceed on WTO terms if no agreement or extension is reached. The French President said: “I am not sure that an agreement will be reached between now and the end of the year.

“Anyway, it is going to become more tense because (the British) are very hard.”

Paris and other countries within the bloc are believed to want to keep the right to fish in British waters.

London wants to retain full autonomy in this area.

Michel Barnier, the chief negotiator of the EU, says it is fishing, security and fair trading conditions for European companies that are top priorities.

brexit news

Emmanuel Macron has said he is 'not sure' if there will be a UK-EU trade deal by the end of the year (Image: GETTY)

von der leyen

Boris Johnson has discussed fishing with Ursula von der Leyen previously (Image: GETTY)

Mr Barnier rubbished the suggestion that City firms could be given permanent access to EU markets without any conditions.

French fishing boats generate 30 percent of their revenue from British maritime territories.

In January, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen that the UK would insist on “maintaining control of Uk fishing waters”.

The Financial Times also reported Mr Johnson insisted that Britain would “not align” with EU rules.

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FOLKESTONE

UK fishermen in Folkestone harbour (Image: GETTY)

French officials have argued most of the British catch is exported to Europe, with frictionless trade important on this side of the English Channel.

An estimated two-thirds of the shellfish, lobsters, crabs and langoustines caught by British fishers are sold to the continent.

Mr Johnson has, however, insisted that Britain wishes to have control of its exclusive economic zone and whilst prepared to discuss access to EU fishermen, the quotas must primarily be for the British.

This intervention from Mr Macron is not the first time that European figures have raised doubt over the potential success of trade negotiations.

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NORTH SHIELDS

Fisherman working off North Shields (Image: GETTY)

michel barnier

Michel Barnier is the EU's chief negotiator (Image: GETTY)

A senior diplomat from the EU explained to the Telegraph: “The more Britain will diverge from common standards and regulations, the more time we will need to negotiate a comprehensive trade deal.

"Due to the 11-month time limit imposed by London, the risk of a cliff edge by the end of 2020 has risen considerably.”

However, a senior Government source promptly hit back, responding: “EU officials claimed that they wouldn’t reopen the Withdrawal Agreement, but they did as it was plainly in our shared interest.

brexit moments

Five key moments that lead to Brexit (Image: EXPRESS)

“There is clearly political will on both sides that will ensure we can conclude an ambitious free trade agreement by the end of next year.”

David Frost remains the Prime Minister’s Europe Adviser and is the chief of Taskforce Europe.

All EU regulations will still apply to the United Kingdom during the transition period.

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Britain left the EU on January 31 (Image: GETTY)

An extension can happen but only if both side agree by July 1.

Mr Johnson has, however, ruled out an extension and introduced legislation to make it so.

The transition could be extended if it is agreed for 12 to 24 months but could be terminated earlier.