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France must still prepare for risk of no-deal Brexit, says French PM

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France must still prepare for risk of no-deal Brexit, says French PM
Photo: AFP
16:20 CET+01:00
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe warned Thursday that despite a draft accord between London and the EU on Britain's exit from the bloc, the prospect of Britain's crashing out without a deal was "still on the table" and so preparations must carry on.

"There's no way to know if an accord will finally be agreed," Philippe said during a visit to Dunkirk, northern France, to discuss the eventual consequences of Brexit for French port operations.

"It will not have escaped attention that British political news might feed questions and worries as to whether the accord will effectively be ratified," he said.

"So we have to prepare for the possibility that is still on the table -- which we do not want, I say that very clearly, but which is still on the table -- of an exit with no deal," Philippe said.

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His comments came as British Prime Minister Theresa May tried to sell her Brexit deal to parliament in the wake of the resignation of four ministers, including Brexit secretary Dominic Raab.

May said the preliminary accord announced Wednesday was the best Britain could hope for as the March 29, 2019, exit date looms.

"The course is clear: we can choose to leave with no deal, we can risk no Brexit at all, or we can choose to unite and support the best deal that can be negotiated," she told lawmakers in London on Thursday.

Earlier, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the preliminary accord was "good news for the French economy."

The fact that an agreement has been found "is good news for the French economy, good news for all French firms. It's in everyone's interest that Brexit should go ahead smoothly", he told France 2 television.

Brexit deal is 'good news for French economy'

 
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