Time short but we hope for a good Brexit deal - Minister
European Union – Brexit – Reply by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to a question in the National Assembly
Paris, 9 October 2018
As you know, the option favoured by the government of France is the option of an orderly withdrawal enabling us, through an agreement, to maintain relations that are as close as possible between the European Union and the United Kingdom, in mutual respect for rights and obligations.
But it appears that time is now short and several issues are still open, even though there has been a lot of progress and we must remain determined and optimistic. But whatever happens, following the negotiations Brexit will drastically alter the links we have with the UK, and we must prepare for it whatever the outcome, prepare for it – whether it be government departments, citizens or businesses – and consider every contingency.
That’s why, at the Prime Minister’s request, Nathalie Loiseau and I set out, at the Council of Ministers’ meeting last Wednesday, a bill enabling the government to adopt by decree the contingency measures it would be necessary to take in the event of no withdrawal agreement. These measures concern British nationals’ right to stay and work on French territory. As you pointed out, they also concern infrastructure. They also concern the human resources which will need to be mobilized to ensure that this adaptation can be carried out in the smoothest conditions, whatever the results.
In the most difficult scenario, which we don’t support, rest assured that all the elements are in place for us to adapt ourselves in the best possible way through French legislation and also through the initiatives to be taken by the European Commission, whilst genuinely hoping that the time we have left allows us to reach a good deal./.