France will not accept a Brexit deal “at any price”, but reaching a deal is still a preferable outcome for all the concerned parties, French junior European affairs minister Clement Beaune told France Inter radio on Wednesday.
Last week, the United Kingdom officially launched talks on its future of trade relations with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland following its exit from the EU. The four countries in question belong to the European Free Trade Association, which provides them with access to the European single market, but keeps them out of the bloc’s customs union.
The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said last Thursday that London and Brussels are unlikely to reach a deal on their future trade relations citing the UK’s “refusal to agree to open and fair competition”.
He added that Brussels wanted to have a free trade agreement with London without tariffs and quotas, but those could be reinstated if no headway is made by October.
The UK left the European Union on 31 January and has until 31 December to negotiate a trade deal with the bloc that will come into effect after the transition period ends.