Emmanuel Macron has slowly become a key obstacle to negotiating teams trying to strike a Brexit trade deal between the UK and the European Union. Mr Macron has been pushing for Michel Barnier not to give in on fisheries and a level playing field to ensure fair competition between the bloc and Brexit Britain. Elvire Fabry from the Jacques Delors Institute, an independent think tank based in Paris, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the French President’s strategy falls in line with his “ambitious” agenda for the future of the single market.
Dr Fabry said: “The bone of the blockage is really the level playing field.
“To understand the French position, you have to understand that France has been really pushing, since the arrival of President Macron, for a more ambitious agenda based on the single market.
“New industrial policies, investment and innovation, review of competition policies, review of trade policies.
“So it’s all about agreeing on general principles for fair competition.”
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Negotiations are believed to have stalled once again on Thursday evening after the EU allegedly tabled additional demands as negotiators rush to get a deal in place before the end of the transition period on December 31.
A senior Government source told the BBC chances of securing a deal on time are “receding” as they claimed the bloc brought “new elements into the negotiations” at the “eleventh hour.”
BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg said on Twitter: “UK + EU sources both suggesting real sticking point over how those rules are policed – who sorts it out if there is a disagreement, with EU pushing for tough independent regulator to adjudicate.
“Suggestion on UK side that after yday’s late-nighter there seemed to be a way through, but EU put a different proposal on the table today that’s very difficult for UK team to accept, which has made chances of deal soon much less likely it’s claimed.”
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Mr Beaune added: “We owe that to the French people, we owe it to our fishermen, and to other economic sectors. “
Despite the sudden change in demands, Number 10 confirmed the UK and EU are working hard to find a breakthrough in Brexit trade talks.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “Intensive talks are continuing in person in London as they have throughout the week, with the negotiating teams continuing to work hard to resolve the differences that remain.
“Our focus remains, and will continue to be, on trying to secure a free-trade agreement, as it has throughout the negotiations.”