When French ministers annoy the English

Four ministers have been mobilizing since January 1 to highlight the consequences of Brexit and prove that the British are the biggest losers.

© Baptiste Giroudon / Paris Match

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office can complain to Emmanuel Macron about the bashing of the Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune continues to repeat what he wrote on Twitter on December 31, the day before the big day: “Brexit was the child of European malaise and a lot of lies and false promises especially concerning British fishermen. ” On January 1, he was in Boulogne-sur-Mer alongside Olivier Dussopt, Minister Delegate for Public Accounts, in charge of customs, and, last week, in Port-en-Bessin with Annick Girardin, Minister of the Sea , to discuss with the fishermen the broad lines of the agreement. On January 5, Julien Denormandie, Minister of Agriculture, was still providing after-sales service on Brexit by visiting the Isigny-Sainte-Mère (ISM) dairy cooperative in Calvados.

“It’s a divorce and there is no happy divorce,” insists the latter in front of company officials and local elected officials. “In the United Kingdom, our turnover has fallen by 40% in three years”, agrees Daniel Delahaye, managing director of ISM. “The English market remains the first in Europe, but it only represents 8% of our fresh exports”, adds Arnaud Fossey, the president of the cooperative. If there is no tariff barrier, a border has indeed been created and generates costs, insist these professionals, such as customs fees or the acquisition of special pallets, in accordance with the international standard. These costs are reflected in the selling prices. And in addition to the de-listing in certain brands, which prefer to replace French products with made in England. “When a company like this one, flagship of the French economy, which has an incredible image, tells you that it is impacted by Brexit, it shows how much the latter has consequences”, summarizes Denormandie, who wants believe, however, that the impact on French exports to the United Kingdom will be smaller than that weighing on British exports to the European Union.

5 billion euros to support businesses

Like Clément Beaune, he tackles “the British who will realize that the promises of the populists were false. They were made to believe that this divorce would be beneficial, which is not the case ”. On the French side, 5 billion euros have been released to support companies affected by Brexit, 367 agents have been hired and five new border control centers created. The Minister of Agriculture welcomes this: “It was our duty to be ready. The British are not. ” The new import rules will be definitively defined next summer. “A visibility worthy of the British” smog “,” he sarcastically, before going to Ouistreham to go to a border checkpoint. Since January 1, traffic has remained fluid and the four veterinary and phytosanitary inspection services at the sector’s borders have only had around twenty checks to carry out.

Watching a brand new ship from his company unloading the goods at the port, Jean-Marc Roué, president of Brittany Ferries, explains to the minister that he assesses the impact of Brexit at 115 million euros in losses over four years, mainly because of the devaluation of the English currency, because 80% of its turnover is made in pounds while its expenses are made in euros. An amount to be added to the 220 million euros of losses linked to the Covid-19 crisis. He hopes that, as soon as they are allowed to do so, the English, who are used to going abroad during their holidays, will want to come to France. Perhaps a sign that it is time for the French government to reconnect with the Entente Cordiale …

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