Exclusive French Minister rejects UK Brexit renegotiation request | World news
PARIS (Reuters) – French Europe Minister Clément Beaune on Thursday rejected Britain’s demand to renegotiate the Brexit deal governing trade with Northern Ireland, dismissing British accusations of European dogmatism as a ” great tale “.
Britain demanded a new European Union deal on Wednesday to govern post-Brexit trade with the British province, saying it already had reason to withdraw from parts of the deal it had reached with Brussels last year only.
London accuses Brussels of being too purist or legalistic in its interpretation of the meaning of the agreement for certain goods transferred from Britain to Northern Ireland.
The European Commission said Thursday it would not renegotiate the deal and work on “creative solutions”, but France’s initial reaction showed some member states were getting impatient with Britain.
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“The European Union has spent days and nights over the past five years finding pragmatic solutions with the UK,” Beaune told Reuters. “The story of a rigid and dogmatic Europe is a great story.”
France has always taken a hard line in Brexit negotiations, often voicing what other member states have said in private.
Beaune, a rising star in the French government, is a close ally of President Emmanuel Macron. He first worked as Macron’s adviser for Europe before being appointed cabinet minister, and has followed the Brexit negotiations behind the scenes from the start.
“We have been working for months to make the protocol requested by the British government and voted by the British parliament work,” he said.
“We can still work on practical solutions, but not empty the protocol or renegotiate it,” he added.
“How to renegotiate with a partner who cannot meet his own commitments?” said Beaune.
(Reporting by Michel Rose; editing by Christian Lowe and Chris Reese and Kirsten Donovan)
Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.