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People's Daily Online

French gov't to present hard Brexit plan

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 09:06, January 24, 2019

PARIS, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- The French government intends to present, in early February, details of a package of emergency measures meant to protect the interests of citizens and companies in case of a hard Brexit, said European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau on Wednesday.

"Time is pressing. ... If we do not reach an accord, we would go ahead with a Brexit without agreement. This solution is not what we prefer, but we are preparing for it together with the European Commission," Loiseau said in a statement issued after a weekly cabinet meeting.

The minster said that five orders aimed at preparing the country for an eventual failure to agree on negotiated divorce would be discussed by the French ministers until Feb. 6.

Adopted by the government earlier on Wednesday, the first order "makes it possible to carry out urgently and by derogating from the common law procedures the temporary installations made necessary by the reestablishment of controls at the border with the United Kingdom."

The ministers will also discuss four other orders in connection with the rights of British citizens in France, road transport operations, the continuity of certain financial activities and the transfer of defense materials between France and the United Kingdom, according to a press release issued by the Elysee Palace.

Since a no-deal Brexit would have a severe impact on France's fisheries sector, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe will evaluate the impact of this scenario on local fishermen and discuss possible support measures with the ministers concerned.

Last week, Philippe triggered a plan to mitigate the difficulties caused by a hard Brexit following the parliamentary defeat of British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal.

It included a 50 million-euro (56.93 million-U.S. dollar) investment package in ports and airports, which according to Philippe were "the places most affected by the changes."

The deadline for Britain to leave the EU is March 29.

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