March 6, 2018 / 6:15 PM / a year ago

France not taking hardline in Brexit talks - minister

FILE PHOTO - France's Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire shakes hands with Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond on the doorstep of 11 Downing Street in London, March 6, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - France is not taking a particularly hard line in Brexit negotiations as sometimes suggested in the British press, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in London on Tuesday.

“I read in some papers that France is being the toughest in the current negotiations. This is not correct,” Le Maire said in speech at the Chatham House think tank.

“We are not in favour of a hard Brexit nor of a soft Brexit. We are in favour of a fair Brexit, a Brexit which would be in the interest of both the UK and Europe,” he added.

French officials have repeatedly said that Paris’ main objective in Brexit negotiations was to maintain the unity of the 27 remaining countries and that the only point of contact for British diplomats should be the Commission’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.

Reporting by Helen Reid and Fanny; writing by Leigh Thomas; editing by Michel Rose

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