France will not 'sacrifice' its fishermen in any Brexit deal, says minister

FILE PHOTO: French Junior Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune speaks during a press conference to outline France's strategy for the deployment of future COVID-19 vaccines, in Paris as the coronavirus disease outbreak continues in France, December 3, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Pool

PARIS (Reuters) - Negotiations between Britain and the European Union over a post-Brexit trade deal are complex and France will oppose any pact that “sacrifices” its fishermen, French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said on Tuesday.

“On fisheries there is no reason to yield to Britain’s pressure. We can make some efforts but sacrificing fisheries and fishermen, no,” Beaune told RMC radio, reiterating that France would veto any agreement it considered a “bad” deal.

Since Britain left the European Union in January, each side has urged the other to make concessions to unlock a trade deal before Britain’s transition period for leaving the bloc ends on Dec. 31.

A senior UK government source said on Monday there was “every chance we are not going to get there” with a deal and EU officials have said, if anything, negotiations had gone backwards.

Asked if there was still a chance to reach a deal, Beaune said: “I do not want to acknowledge a failure (of the talks). I think we still have a few days to negotiate.”

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Andrew Heavens