France will veto any trade deal between the U.K. and the European Union that doesn’t respect its interests, French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said on Friday. “If there is a deal which is not good,” he told Europe 1 radio, “then we would oppose it. We always said so.” France is concerned about last-minute concessions over access to British fishing waters and U.K. businesses getting an unfair competitive advantage. Bloomberg reported earlier this week that France’s envoy warned chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier not to give too much away to clinch an agreement.
France, like all its partners, has a right to veto and will conduct its own assessment, Beaune said. “We owe it to the French, we owe it to our fishermen and to other economic sectors,” he said.
The French official, who traveled to Calais and Boulogne in northern France to check on Brexit preparations on Thursday, said he still hopes for “a good deal,” though British officials said prospects of an imminent deal had receded.