Marr confronts French minister over EU's Brexit timeline warning she 'signed up ...

ANDREW MARR confronted France's Amelie de Montchalin over her warning the EU will not sign up to just any deal to help Boris Johnson meet his deadline despite the bloc signing up to the same timeline.

PUBLISHED: 09:56, Sun, Mar 1, 2020 | UPDATED: 10:35, Sun, Mar 1, 2020

Andrew Marr challenged Ms de Montchalin after the French minister earlier this week warned the European Union will not be "blackmailed" into agreeing to a Brexit trade deal with the UK by December 2020 if extra time is needed. Boris Johnson pledged to strike a new trade agreement with the EU by the end of the transition period later this year, insisting he is ready to walk away to avoid postponing Britain's full departure from the bloc yet again. But the BBC host pointed out Brussels also signed up to the December deadline as part of the political declaration agreed with Britain last year. 

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Mr Marr said: "The trouble with that, respectfully, is that the EU, like the UK, signed up to that date in international law.

"That’s the date both sides agreed. And Britain certainly said that it is a hard deadline."

Ms de Montchlin insisted the deadline for negotiations can be "extended in international law," which prompted Mr Marr to hit back: "But you don’t expect Boris Johnson to extend.

"Boris Johnson is talking about Boris Johnson walking away from the negotiations if there isn’t substantive progress by June."

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Andrew Marr France amelie de montchalin Brexit newsAndrew Marr confronted de Montchalin over her deadline warning (Image: BBC)

Brexit news France de montchalin uk eu trade dealAndrew Marr pointed out the EU also signed up to the December 2020 deadline (Image: BBC)

The French minister insisted the European Union's negotiating team remains committed to delivering a good deal for EU citizens and remains ready to postpone the end of the transition deal to ensure a beneficial agreement is in place at its end.

Ms de Montchalin said: "What I know, and I go back to my passion and reason, I think it will be very difficult for people to understand we did not protect them as much as we could’ve done just because we wanted to stick to a date while we had the opportunity to delay the negotiations for six months more, 12 months more.

"I’m not telling you this is what we want. I’m telling you that,

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