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France warns UK over Brexit

International 19 Feb, 2020 Follow News

David Frost is the UK’s Brexit negotiator

France has warned Britain to expect a bruising battle with the European Union in post-Brexit trade negotiations.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian predicted the two sides would "rip each other apart" as they strove for advantage in the negotiations.

He also said it would be tough for the UK to achieve its aim of agreeing a free trade deal by the end of the year.

The UK government said it wanted a deal based on "friendly co-operation between sovereign equals".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief Brexit negotiator is expected to give more details of the UK's negotiating aims in a speech in Brussels later.

David Frost is expected to say the UK will be happy with a trade deal based on that agreed by the EU with Canada in 2016 but to rule out any form of regulatory alignment with the bloc from 2021 onwards.

The UK formally left the EU three weeks ago but still trades like a member under a transition period which ends on Dec. 31.

Talks on their future relationship are set to begin next month once the EU's 27 members have agreed the bloc's negotiating mandate.

Speaking at a security conference in Munich on Sunday, Le Drian said the two sides were far apart on a range of issues.

He said: "I think that on trade issues and the mechanism for future relations, which we are going to start on, we are going to rip each other apart. But that is part of negotiations, everyone will defend their own interests."

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