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BREXIT

French president Macron warns of no-deal Brexit ‘for sure’ if British MPs reject May’s deal

French president Emmanuel Macron warned on Thursday that if British MPs reject the Brexit withdrawal agreement once again - the country will leave the European Union without a deal.

French president Macron warns of no-deal Brexit 'for sure' if British MPs reject May's deal
Emmanuel Macron at the European Council meeting in Brussels. Photo: AFP

“In the case of a negative British vote then we'd be heading to a no deal,” Macron said, arriving at the EU summit in Brussels.

“We all know it. And it's essential to be clear in these days and moments.”

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Macron, echoing other EU leaders, said that a short “technical extension” would be possible, but only if British lawmakers who have twice rejected a withdrawal agreement vote next week to back it.

“We do respect the vote of the British people. We do respect what the prime minister and parliament are making,” Macron told reporters, repeating himself in English for British broadcasters.

“In case of no vote, or no, directly it will guide everybody to a no deal for sure,” he said.

 

(Emmanuel Macron prepares for the EU summit in Brussels. Photo: AFP)

 

His comments came after France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also took a hard line on any Brexit delays.

“A situation in which Mrs May is unable to deliver sufficient guarantees on the credibility of her strategy at the European Council meeting would lead to the request being refused and a preference for a no deal,” he told the French parliamet on Wednesday.

Le Drian said an extension to the March 29 deadline would only be granted if British Prime Minister Theresa May agreed to three conditions.

First, that any extension only be given to approve an exit deal negotiated by May and the other 27 European Union members, which has twice been rejected 
by British MPs.

Secondly, that May not seek to renegotiate the deal.

And thirdly that Britain not participate in elections for the European Parliament which are scheduled for May 23rd-26th.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, as he arrived for the meeting, reiterated the message that any extension to the deadline would be conditional on British MPs passing May's deal.

 

 

The European Council was meeting on Thursday after May had formally requested an extension to the Brexit deqdline – which is currently set at March 29th.

In Britain, a petition calling on politicians to cancel Brexit was set to hit 1 million signatures, less than 48 hours after being set up.

By law, once a petition has more than 100,000 signatures, it must be discussed by parliament.

 



 

 

Member comments

  1. I just don’t understand what the EU leaders are doing now! Why the hell are they forcing us into this effing deal, when it would surely be in their interest for the UK to have a second referendum and then hopefully cancel Brexit altogether? Why aren’t they insisting on that as a condition of agreeing to an extension? I am baffled – and very angry!

  2. I’ve just about had it with the Tory government and its politicking, when leadership was called for, and games to ensure the survival of their party when it should have been the survival of the country that was paramount.
    I can therefore fully understand Macron’s exasperated approach, and I’m a Remainer, but someone has to tell the UK government the reality of the mess that they’ve gotten us all into!

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TRAVEL NEWS

France may cut Channel islands ferry service after post-Brexit collapse in visitor numbers

Visits to the Channel islands from France have halved since Brexit, and French local authorities say they may be forced to cut the regular ferry service, asking for the passport requirement to be waived for French visitors.

France may cut Channel islands ferry service after post-Brexit collapse in visitor numbers

Travel to and from the Channel islands – which are British crown dependancies – has reduced significantly since Brexit, when passports became a requirement for those travelling in and out of the islands and their ports.

Now the president of the local authorities in the Manche département of France has asked that passport requirements be lifted, with hopes of increasing travel to and from the islands.

Jean Morin told Ouest France that there has been a “considerable reduction in the number of passengers on routes between the Channel ports and the islands” and as a result the ferry service between France and the islands was seriously in deficit.

“On these lines, we will never make money, but we cannot be in deficit”, explained the Morin. 

He added that if a solution is not found by the deadline of May 1st, 2023, then local authorities will stop funding the shipping company DNO, which runs the Manche Îles Express ferry service.

“If the passport requirement is not lifted by then, we will have no choice but not to renew the service contract for 2024-2025”, Morin told Ouest France.

Only around half of French people have a passport, since the ID card issued to all adults is sufficient to travel within the EU. 

READ MORE: Ask the Expert: How Brexit has changed the rules on pensions, investments and bank accounts for Brits in France

DNO re-launched operations in April and since then, the company, and by extension the département – who plays a large role in funding it via a public service delegation – has been losing significant funds.

According to Franceinfo, the number of passengers has been cut in half since passport requirements were introduced. Franceinfo estimates that for one ticket for one passenger costing €30, the département spends €200.

According to Morin, the ideal solution would be to require a simple ID for tourists seeking to take just day-long or weekend-long stays on the islands – which reportedly represents at least 90 percent of the boats’ usual passengers.

“The Jersey government is working hard on the issue and is waiting for an agreement from London and the European Union. There is the possibility that things could move quickly”, Morin told Franceinfo on Tuesday.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit, boats going to and from the French mainland carried at least 110,000 people per year. In 2022, only 40,000 passengers made the journey, Olivier Normand, the sales manager of Manche Îles Express, told Actu France.

Normand had expected the decline, however. He told Actu France that the company had taken a survey, which found that almost half (between 40 and 50 percent) of their clientele did not have a passport. 

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