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France won’t rule out ‘no deal’ on UK future ties

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France does not rule out Europe failing to reach a deal on its post-Brexit relationship with Britain but very much wants to avoid such an outcome, its foreign minister was quoted as saying Tuesday.

“We cannot exclude the prospect of a ‘no deal’ but we want to avoid it,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in an interview with the French daily La Croix to be published on Wednesday.

“The British are playing against the clock but that is not always the way to reach a good agreement,” he added.

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Britain, which left the EU in January, is negotiating a trade deal to govern relations after December 31, when it stops abiding by EU rules.

Le Drian’s comments came as French President Emmanuel Macron visits Britain on Thursday for a visit expected to include talks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

He said Britain apparently still had not understood the full meaning of Brexit even after formally leaving the European Union.

“When you are outside the Union, you do not enjoy the same advantages as when you are inside. You cannot have a foot in and a foot out”, he added.

“You have to choose and I am not sure that they have understood the full magnitude of their withdrawal,” Le Drian said.

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