‘No deal’s better than a bad deal’ French MEP to oppose ‘badly-stitched’ Brexit agreement

Brexit: Emmanuel Macron calls for 'fair agreement' on fisheries

However, Nicolas Bay also suggested a willingness on the UK’s part to compromise on the issue of fishing rights could pave the way for Brussels to give ground on level playing field arrangements and the role of the European Court of Justice. Mr Bay, the general secretary of the right-wing National Rally party, led by twice-defeated French Presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, was speaking at a time when hopes of a post-Brexit trade deal are hanging in the balance.

He told Express.co.uk: “There remains the possibility of implementing an interim agreement, decided between governments.

“The European Parliament will no doubt frustrated to be, once again, treated as a simple chamber for registering the Commission’s decisions.

“But the dogmatism of Brussels and its open desire to punish the British are among the main reasons for the current impasse.”

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Mr Bay made it clear he too had his own personal red lines when it came to any theoretical agreement, especially given he represented a coastal region of France.

He explained: “As for me, I am a French Member of the European Parliament but also a regional councillor from Normandy.

“I would not accept that our interests should be sacrificed in order to reach an agreement more favourable to other countries, which is a tendency that is all too often observed in Brussels.”

Nevertheless, he simultaneously appeared to downplay the issue of fishing access, saying: “I believe that fishing is kind of being used as an excuse to avoid highlighting the other major dispute.

“A win-win agreement is possible: the EU would have to agree to let go of the ballast on the issue of standards and the case law of the European courts.

“Isn’t this precisely why you wanted to leave?”

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Turning his attention to what France stood to lose, Mr Bay said: “We would risk, by wanting to rush the signing of a badly-stitched agreement, that it would take us down the wrong road and further damage the balance of the future relationship.

“The stakes are high for both sides: let us allow ourselves time to find a compromise that is mutually beneficial.”

Nevertheless, with time rapidly running out, he also appeared unfazed by the prospect of the transition period ending on December 31 without an agreement in place.

Ursula von der Leyen told by Nicolas Bay that the EU is 'terrible'

He said: “It would have been preferable to avoid a ‘no-deal’ but it would not be catastrophic for anyone.

“It would amount to a new phase of transition during which negotiations would continue.

“They will inevitably succeed because we all have to gain in this.”

Speaking on Friday, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said there were just hours remaining in which the two sides could strike a deal.

Both sides are demanding the other compromise with messages variously suggesting a deal is close, possible and unlikely.

Mr Barnier told the European Parliament: “It’s the moment of truth.

“There is a chance of getting an agreement but the path to such an agreement is very narrow.”

Speaking in response, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Our door is open, we’ll keep talking but I have to say things are looking difficult.

“We hope that our EU friends will see sense and come to the table with something themselves – because that’s really where we are.”

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