The dispute which began last year with France's planned levy of up to three percent on revenues earned by US tech companies in France, and which Washington threatened to retaliate against with higher tariffs on imports of French goods, de-escalated this week with both sides agreeing on negotiations that may continue throughoiut the year.
After days of tough talking which cast doubt over France's agreement to British Prime Minister Theresa May's request for an extension of the Brexit deadline due this Friday, an official in French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said Tuesday that France was ready to accept a new delay.
British Prime Minister Theresa May flew to Paris from Berlin on Tuesday, having earlier met German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron in a bid to convince the two leaders to grant a delay for the UK withdrawal from the European Union which is currently on a deadline for Friday.
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 foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, who visited Paris on Tuesday, has called on France and Germany to put pressure on European Union negotiators in Brexit talks to respond more positively to the UK's propositions for a deal and to avoid what he has said is otherwise 'the real chance' of his country leaving the EU next year without one.
In a fresh round of negotiations on Friday between the French government and rail union officials leading rolling strikes in protest at planned reforms to shakeup the publicly-owned SNCF railways company, including the introduction of private competition, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has proposed that the state will absorb most of the company's debts of 47 billion euros in return for an end to the dispute.
Newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron has made the introduction of structural reforms in France one the priorities of his five-year term, beginning with a freeing-up of labour market regulations which he intends pushing through parliament this summer in the form of executive decrees. He began consultations with union leaders and employers this week, but he has made clear that the fundamentals are not negotiable, raising the prospect of a costly social conflict. To help steer this controversial and potentially divisive labour law reform into place a team of three key advisors have been appointed and who are profiled here by Dan Israel and Manuel Jardinaud.
French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday met with trades union leaders to discuss the sweeping labour law reforms he plans to introduce this summer, which were a key element of his election manifesto and which include making hiring and firing easier, moving wage bargaining to company level and capping financial awards to employees by labour tribunals.
French President François Hollande, reacting after British Prime Minister Theresa May's speech on Tuesday setting out London's intention to seek a clear split from the European single market, said he wanted negotiations on the conditions of Britain's departure from the EU to begin as soon as it invokes the process, due at the end of March.
At a European Council meeting in Brussels, François Hollande said negotiations over Britain's future relationship with the European Union 'will be hard' if London adopts a 'hard Brexit' approach, while European Parliament president Martin Schulz said restrictions on immigration would mean an economic cost for the UK.
The French president said he would reject Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership 'at this stage' because he was against unregulated free trade.
President François Hollande, already deeply unpopular, faces growing anger from left-wing youth organisations that would usually back him.
Speaking at end of negotiations in Brussels, the French president added UK was not given veto over the eurozone 'which is very important for France'.