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BREXIT

Brexit special trade agreement possible, Macron says

French President Emmanuel Macron said a special post-Brexit trade agreement between Britain and the EU was certainly possible but would not involve full access to the single market, in a BBC interview to be screened on Sunday.

Brexit special trade agreement possible, Macron says
French President Emmanuel Macron looks on as Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks at an event at the Victoria and Albert museum in central London on Thursday. PHOTO: ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP
Macron, who met British Prime Minister Theresa May for talks on Thursday, said there could not be complete single market access without fully signing up.
 
However, Britain could strike a deal that would fall between full access and a regular trade agreement.
 
“For sure, you will have your own solution,” Macron told BBC television, in extracts released on Saturday. “But… this special way should be consistent with the preservation of the single market and our collective interests.”
 
“To get full access to the single market, you need contribution to the budget and you have to accept the freedoms… and you have to accept the jurisdiction,” the 40-year-old French president continued. “As soon as you decide not to join these preconditions, it's not a full access. So it's something perhaps between this full access and a trade agreement.”
 
After Thursday's talks with May, Macron said France would not give in to British demands for the financial services sector to be covered by a Brexit trade deal. Full access for financial services to the single market “is not feasible”, he told the BBC.
 
“There should be no cherry-picking in the single market because that's a dismantling of the single market.”
 
Macron said Britain could have “deeper relations” with the European Union than other countries, as is the case with Norway.
 
Following a referendum in 2016, Britain is due to leave the EU in March 2019.
 
“I do respect this vote, I do regret this vote, and I would love to welcome you again,” Macron said.
 
The full interview is to be aired on Sunday.

TRAVEL NEWS

Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

A week after chaotic scenes and 6-hour queues at the port of Dover, the British motoring organisation the AA has issued an amber traffic warning, and says it expects cross-Channel ports to be very busy once again this weekend as holidaymakers head to France.

Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

The AA issued the amber warning on Thursday for the whole of the UK, the first time that it has issued this type of warning in advance.

Roads across the UK are predicted to be extremely busy due to a combination of holiday getaways, several large sporting events and a rail strike – but the organisation said that it expected traffic to once again be very heavy around the port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone.

Last weekend there was gridlock in southern England and passengers heading to France enduring waits of more than six hours at Dover, and four hours at Folkestone.

The AA said that while it doesn’t expect quite this level of chaos to be repeated, congestion was still expected around Dover and Folkestone.

On Thursday ferry operator DFDS was advising passengers to allow two hours to get through check-in and border controls, while at Folkestone, the Channel Tunnel operators only said there was a “slightly longer than usual” wait for border controls.

In both cases, passengers who miss their booked train or ferry while in the queue will be accommodated on the next available crossing with no extra charge.

Last weekend was the big holiday ‘getaway’ weekend as schools broke up, and a technical fault meant that some of the French border control team were an hour late to work, adding to the chaos. 

But the underlying problems remain – including extra checks needed in the aftermath of Brexit, limited space for French passport control officers at Dover and long lorry queues on the motorway heading to Folkestone.

OPINION UK-France travel crisis will only be solved when the British get real about Brexit

The port of Dover expects 140,000 passengers, 45,000 cars and 18,000 freight vehicles between Thursday and Sunday, and queues were already starting to build on Thursday morning.

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