Amelie de Montchalin angered Britons by insisting eurocrats would not be prepared to “sacrifice our farmers, our fishermen, our businessmen”. Speaking ahead of her visit to London on Friday, Ms de Montchalin said Paris would not be blackmailed by Boris Johnson into signing a lousy trade deal and insisted her team would stick up for the rights of French fishermen. Express.co.uk readers took to social media to hit out at Emmanuel Macron’s minister for appearing to forget the waters French boats are fishing in belongs to the British.
One angered man said: “Amazing. It is our waters and our fish but they want to fight us for it.
“Sod off France!”
Another said: “Why do these people think that they are entitled to annex another independent country’s assets.
“Where does that even come from?”
And a third said: “If the French want some UK fish they can buy it in the fishmongers or supermarkets. UK fishermen will fish for it.”
One Briton who had his feathers ruffled by Ms de Montchalin’s comments warned the Prime Minister and his negotiating team would not back down easily.
The reader said: “Bring it on! We’re ready.
“I seem to remember going down this road before.”
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Another person questioned why Ms de Montchalin seemed so hung up on the upcoming negotiations instead of concentrating on factors at home which are affecting the fishing and agricultural sectors.
“What planet is she living on?” they said.
“There are so many problems in France which have nothing to do with us leaving.”
Talks will commence in March to strike a free trade deal before the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31.
Mr Johnson has ruled out an extension.
Some annoyed readers called on France to respect British fishermen’s right to fish in their own waters and not try to interfere with their work in the future.
One man said “there is nothing to fight – they are our waters” while another said, “there’s no point in fighting for what belongs to someone else”.
In an interview with France 2 on Monday, Ms de Montchalin said: “Tomorrow I’ll be in Brussels with all the ministers of European Affairs to give Michel Barnier his mandate.
“This mandate is very clear: we won’t sacrifice our farmers, our fishermen, our businessmen.
“Friday I’ll be in London because in these negotiations we have to make sure British companies what they are going to lose with a bad deal.
“What is certain is just because Boris Johnson wants a deal no matter what on December 31 that we’re not going to sign up, under pressure, a bad deal.”
Both sides are gearing up for a bitter battle in the coming weeks.
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