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Brexit

Ahead of summit, France tells Britain: We will defend our fishermen

FILE PHOTO: French Junior Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune, wearing a protective face mask, leaves following the last weekly cabinet meeting before summer vacation break, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, July 29, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - France sent a message to Britain on Thursday that it will not sacrifice its fishermen in negotiations over a post-Brexit trade deal between Britain and the European Union, with its minister for European affairs touring a northern port.

“Before the European Council, meetings and talks with the fishermen of #PortenBessin and its local leaders. One single objective: to defend and protect the interests of fishermen,” European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune tweeted.

In a second tweet, Beaune said: “We negotiate with calmness and great firmness, we’re fighting ... for French fishing.”

France says Britain’s demands for annual quota negotiations are unacceptable.

EU leaders will pressure Britain on Thursday for concessions in their troubled Brexit talks, saying a trillion euros worth of trade could be sunk if London does not budge on fisheries, fair competition and solving disputes.

Britain left the EU in January, and the two sides are trying to strike a deal on their future relations before a standstill transition arrangement expires at the end of the year.

Reporting by Richard Lough; Editing by Alex Richardson

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