The French government is sanguine about the prospect of a no-deal Brexit because the idea is “so radical that it is difficult to imagine,” according to the secretary of the French parliament’s Brexit mission, although he warned that some aspects of the U.K.’s position are still “unexplainable.”
Alexandre Holroyd, an MP with Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche party who represents French people living in the U.K., told POLITICO that it is not correct to say that France has adopted a particularly hard line on Brexit. He said Macron has adopted a “position of openness,” as evidenced by the meeting Fridaywith Prime Minister Theresa May at the French president’s Fort de Brégançon retreat on the Mediterranean coast.
But Holroyd, who met U.K. Cabinet Office Minister and May’s effective deputy David Lidington as part of the diplomatic groundwork ahead of the Fort de Brégançon summit, said that some form of Brexit agreement is “inevitable” — even if there is some confusion on the French side about what U.K. politicians mean by a no deal.
“There has been progress in the white paper, but some points are still unexplainable from an EU standpoint” — Alexandre Holroyd, French MP
“Frankly I don’t think that there’s a real concern in France about a no-deal. The idea of a no-deal seems so radical that it is difficult to imagine it,” said the MP who sits on the parliament’s finance and EU affairs committees.
Part of the reason France appears relaxed about the prospects of no deal may be that the economic costs for France of the U.K. falling back on WTO trading terms are not predicted to be huge. While the EU as a whole would suffer a 1.5 percent hit to GDP according to a report published by the IMF last month, the cost to France would be just 0.2 percent. Britain on the other hand can expect a GDP impact of 4 percent, the analysis predicted.