France has often been accused by certain elements of the British political class and the UK media of doing its utmost to gain from the fallout of the British public's shock decision to vote the EU.
But Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire tried to rubbish the idea that France was openly trying to take advantage of Brexit to boost Paris at the expense of London.
“We don't have a predatory vision when it comes to Brexit,” Le Maire told The Local and other members of the Anglo American Press Association in Paris on Monday.
“It's not about taking jobs from the UK, it's about (making France) more attractive – all in the framework of fair competition,” he said.
“I repeat: we don't have a predatory vision, it's not about making London lose out so Paris can gain. It's just about making Paris more attractive,” he said.
French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire tells The Local that France are not “predators” trying to use Brexit to take jobs from London to Paris. He also warned that he was worried because “time was running out” but “things are not progressing very much.” pic.twitter.com/Bh6awdh7r4
— Ben McPartland (@McPBen) June 25, 2018
There will be some in the UK, particularly those involved in the Brexit negotiations, who might not believe him.
London has been irked by some of the agressive ad campaigns launched by French officials to persuade companies to move across the Channel. Some have even been banned.
And in July last year the British finance sector's EU pointman warned in a leaked report that France was seeking to use Brexit to weaken the City of London.
Brexit negotiations are entering a crunch phase as talks continue on what the UK's future relationship with the EU will be, especially in the crucial area of trade.
While certain pro-Brexit politicians in the UK suggest Prime Minister Theresa May should be prepared to walk away without a deal, around 100,000 people marched in London on Saturday to demand a second referendum, this time on the terms of the divorce settlement from the EU.
When asked by The Local whether he would back a second referendum on Brexit in the UK, Le Maire declined to take sides but simply warned that “time was running out” to conclude Brexit talks in the right way.
He accused Britain of trying to shirk the commitments it made to the EU's budget.
“It's as if you went to a restaurant, ordered a meal, began eating and then walked out in the middle of the meal, saying: 'I'm not going to pay after all'. That's not possible,” he said.