French minister calls for EU unity on fisheries in Brexit talks

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

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - France’s EU affairs minister on Tuesday called for unity in the 27-nation bloc over fisheries negotiations with Britain that are part of troubled broader talks aimed at keeping trade flowing freely despite Brexit.

Arriving for talks with his EU peers on Brexit ahead of a summit of the bloc’s leaders later this week, Clement Beaune said it was “important ... to remind of the need for a very united position from the 27, of the European Union.”

He said the bloc needed to be “very firm” on top priorities including fisheries and fair competition safeguards he said were the “sine qua non” conditions to access the EU’s internal market of 450 million people without trade barriers.

Reporting by Marine Strauss, Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Catherine Evans