French MEP launches threat to veto Brexit trade deal as pressure piles on Michel Barnier

Pascal Durand, a Renew Europe MEP in the European Parliament said today that he would not validate “any agreement”. It comes after EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier gave a “downbeat” and “gloomy” assessment of progress in reaching a post-Brexit trade deal between the European Union and UK.

He gave a deadline of Wednesday for a deal to be achieved stressing talks would not continue beyond then – as significant divergences still remain on fisheries, state aid and the level playing field.

Any deal, however, has to be ratified by both Houses of Parliament in the UK and the European Parliament, as well as signed off by the EU leaders.

Mr Durand hinted some MEPs would back Emanuel Macron on putting pressure on Mr Barnier to ensure a suitable trade deal is agreed which takes the needs of EU coastal states into account.

He added: “We will not validate any agreement, we will not accept an agreement which infringes the rights of citizens, which infringes competition law or above all which would jeopardize the economy of the 27 countries.

“You have to be very clear.”

Mr Durand said the position was “widely shared” on the “benches of the European Parliament”.

Clément Beaune, French Minister for European Affairs and a close ally of French President warned France could veto any agreement if the terms were not “satisfactory.”

Mr Beaune added the UK cannot “on one hand expect access to the whole European single market while excluding fishing.”

READ MORE: Brexit latest: Boris Johnson threatens to walk away from talks

Downing Street said this afternoon talks would continue if there was “time available” adding an agreement was still possible.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman added: “Time is very short, but … we are prepared to keep negotiating as long as we have time available if we think an agreement is possible.

“That remains our position, so our teams will (continue) negotiating today.”

will speak with President European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen later to “take stock” of the current negotiations.

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