18:04 GMT27 January 2021
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    Many across the UK and the European continent breathed a sigh of relief once both sides reached a post-Brexit trade deal on the eleventh hour at the end of December 2020. Even staunchly pro-Brexit leader Nigel Farage proclaimed an end to the “Brexit wars.” However, comments by one senior French official suggest that all may not be so simple.

    A French MEP and ally of French president Emmanuel Macron has suggested that the European Parliament could still “modify” the Brexit deal, raising questions about whether the trade deal struck at the end of 2020 between the UK and the EU will survive in its current form.

    Nathalie Loiseau, France’s former Europe Minister, described in an interview with France24 the Brexit deal that was reached on December 24 2020 as “damage control,” adding that “now it’s time for reality.” Ms. Loiseau said that members of the parliament have “a role in modifying the agreement,” which has yet to be given the legal stamp of approval by parliamentarians in Brussels.

    Asked by France24’s host whether the deal can still be changed by members of the European Parliament if there are provisions that they dispute, Ms. Loiseau responded, “it’s a question of political responsibility. Do we want to ruin the whole thing and say there shouldn’t be a deal after all?”

    Then, sniping at the parliamentary process in the UK, she elaborated by saying that, “I'm certain we will act responsibly. But that means we go through the text. We don't vote on it within 24 hours, as the case was in Westminster, which was quite a surprise to me. If you see that things are lacking, or things should be more precise or should be improved you say it.”

    Furthermore, in comments that may raise eyebrows in London, Ms. Loiseau went on to say that despite the Brexit deal being active and enforced since January 1 2021, “if we consider that the deal is not perfect, we will be very careful about its implementation, we will monitor that. And, in the future, if things are to be improved or complemented we will say that.”

    Notwithstanding those comments, Ms. Loiseau added that the UK and the EU should remain fully engaged in matters of national security and defence, saying that “we are facing the same threats, the same challenges. We have to work together.”

    Those comments come on the heels of a scathing attack against Brexit itself by President Macron. On January 1 - the day that the UK-EU Brexit trade deal was provisionally activated - Mr Macron slammed Britain’s departure from the EU as a decision based upon “lies and false promises.”

    “The United Kingdom remains our neighbour but also our friend and ally. This choice of leaving Europe, this Brexit, was the child of European malaise and lots of lies and false promises,” said Mr Macron.

     

    Tags:
    European Union, Brexit deal, Brexit
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