Robert HARNEIS –TDO- (FRANCE) - As the Brexit deadline approaches, France has indicated that it is unwilling to extend it further, saying there will be a clear ‘NO’ if the UK attempts to delay it for another three months after October 31.
The stern warning comes just days after the UK Parliament passed a bill that attempts to force Prime Minister Boris Johnson to seek an extension of the October 31 deadline from Brussels if no Brexit deal has by then been negotiated with the EU. If the bloc proposes a different date, then Downing Street would be obliged to accept it within two days.
“In the current circumstances, it’s no!” French Foreign Minister Jean Yves le Drian said.
Expanding on his comments, le Drian said the current political turmoil is “very worrying,” and urged London to shine more light on its future Brexit tactics.“The British must tell us what they want.”
The chief diplomat had earlier predicted that a no-deal Brexit is “the most likely scenario,” warning that there will be inevitable drawbacks to the UK’s departure from the EU.
Meanwhile, Johnson has ruled out any possibility of asking for another delay saying that he “would rather be dead in a ditch.”“It achieves absolutely nothing. What on earth is the point of further delay?” he asked the House of Commons last week.
Whilst happy to make the British look silly as a result of all the political divisions over Brexit, it may well be that what the French really want is a very long delay that would effectively derail Brexit permanently. The UK is a big contributor to EU funds. Cash strapped France will have to make up some of the shortfall. In addition under EU rules French and other nations almost unlimited rights to fish in its home waters. With Brexit this would end to the great detriment of the French fishing industry.