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EU SPLIT: France & Germany CLASH on UK deal ‘Sacrificing French fishing for German profit’

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Nicolas Bay also the row exposed the problems chief negotiator Michel Barnier faces in trying to represent 27 member states, admitting: “You cannot please everyone”. Mr Bay outlined his views during a passionate speech in the European Parliament on Wednesday, during which he suggested a no-deal outcome would be “much worse for the EU than the UK”.

Specifically, he appealed for an agreement which guaranteed ongoing access to UK waters for French fishermen.

Speaking to Express.co.uk subsequently stressed: “The problem of fishing is absolutely fundamental.

“It is a priority for France as well as for the United Kingdom.”

Referring to the chamber of the European Parliament, he added: “When I am in the hemicycle, I speak as a French deputy, elected to defend the interests of France.

“As such, my speech is necessarily partisan, and it is especially so since I am also elected to the Regional Council of Normandy.

“However, Norman fishermen critically need access to British waters; the opposite is also true for certain products such as scallops.”

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Just as the British voted in 2016 to quit the bloc in order to “better defend their interests”, Mr Bay said he had a similar responsibility to his countrymen.

He explained: “Just as the British decided, by referendum, to leave the EU to better defend their interests, I must ensure that French interests are preserved.

“I fully understand the position of London, but this is a competition, it’s every man for himself.

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“And it is indeed by negotiating, so that everyone can best defend their needs, that we can reach a compromise that is beneficial for all.”

He added: “This is why the attitude of Germany, which has limited fishing interests, is shocking.

“Berlin seems ready to sacrifice French fishing in the name of an agreement that will maximise German profits in other sectors such as the automotive industry!

“That’s the whole downside of these kinds of negotiations, which we have to do between ourselves first, the 27.

“You can put the national interest first, but we cannot please everyone.”

Access to British waters after Brexit is a key sticking point.

With talks set to continue throughout the weekend, hopes are rising about the prospects of an agreement being struck between the UK and the EU.

Sources have suggested the French President is relaxing his stance over fishing rights for French ships after Brexit.

Express.co.uk understands he has prepared France’s fishing industry to accept a reduction in quotas from UK waters – although such a compromise is unlikely to impress Mr Bay.

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