While Britain's transport minister described setting up new post-Brexit controls at its borders as 'utterly unrealistic', France has begun building new customs inspection posts dedicated to UK-exported horses and other large animals in Calais, and another for fish in nearby Boulogne, as part of a 50-million-euro contingency plan announecd last week in the case of a no-deal withdawal of the UK from the European Union.
French farmers' union, the FNSEA, has voiced its concern at the possibility of a withdrawal from the EU by the UK, to which France exports a yearly 3 billion euros-worth of agricultural goods, without a trade deal.
French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe on Thursday announced a 50-million-euro contingency plan in the case that Britain would leave the European Union on March 29th without a trade agreement, which he described as 'less and less unlikely', which includes the building of infrastructures around transport hubs to deal with delays in commercial traffic and the recruitment of around 600 extra staff in customs and veterinary services.
French and German officials have made comments suggesting they are open to agreeing a delay to the UK's withdrawal from the European Union due on March 29th, as Prime Minsiter Theresa May prepares to return to parliament with a revised Brexit deal after surviving a 'no confidence' vote by MPs on Tuesday evening.
Reacting late on Tuesday to the British parliament's rejection of Prime Minster Theresa May's Brexit deal with the EU, French President Emmanuel Macron said it was most likely that the UK would seek a better deal and that 'maybe we’ll make improvements on one or two things', but warned that the British would be the 'first losers' in a no-deal brexit, and that 'we won’t, just to solve Britain’s domestic political issues, stop defending European interests'.
British Prime Minister Theresa May was in Brussels on Thursday and Friday for a frantic series of meetings to convince EU leaders to provide clarifications over her Brexit deal with Brussels, hoping for their help to obtain parliamentary approval of the agreement reached last month for the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc. But for most observers, the chances of avoiding a hard Brexit before the deadline of next March are receding by the day. In the northern French coastal town of Calais, through which tens of millions of tonnes of goods pass yearly in trade between the UK and the continent, many fear catastrophic consequences of a hard Brexit, with the very likely prospect of the Channel port becoming paralysed. Elisa Perrigueur reports.
President Macron and heads of other member states fear Britain could gain advantage over them by undercutting EU environment law.
In a joint op-ed article published in The Guardian, former French prime minister Bernard Cazeneuve and former UK defence minister and NATO secretary general George Robertson warn of the dangers that Brexit presents to what they call the 'strong relationship' between France and Britain in military cooperation.
Xavier Bertrand, president of the Hauts-de-France region which includes the port, said ensuring the 'fluidity' of trade was essential.
Speaking at the European Union summit in Brussels dominated by the struggling negotiations to find a mutual agreement for conditions of the UK's exit from the union, French President Emmanuel Macron described reports that British citizens would require a visa to enter or remain in France as 'fake news', but also did not rule out the possibility.
With just more than five months to go before the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union, the continuing confusion over the future status of EU nationals in Britain and British nationals in the EU is causing mounting anxiety for many of the latter in France, and a leap in applications for French nationality.
Prime Minister Édouard Philippe has asked ministers to discuss plans ahead of a possible exit of Britain from the European Union without mutual agreement terms, and to prepare measures necessary to mitigate difficulties 'linked with this unprecedented challenge', including facilitating the stay of British citizens currently living in France and ensuring smooth border controls.
Recent data shows the UK’s manufacturing sector being starved of investment funds and losing momentum as uncertainty persists surrounding the the UK’s relationship with the EU from next year.
President of region that includes Calais, Boulogne and Dunkirk, urged EU to review decision to ship goods via Belgium and Netherlands instead.
Private dinner took place between France's president and his wife, Brigitte, and May and her husband, Philip, at the 13th-century Fort Brégançon.