France wants EU-US trade talks stopped
By Eric Maurice
France wants the EU to stop its negotiations with the US for a free-trade agreement.
"What France is demanding is the pure, simple and definitive halt of these negotiations," French trade minister Matthias Fekl said on Tuesday (30 August).
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"That means the end" of the talks, not a suspension, he said, adding he would officially make the demand at an EU trade minister meeting at the end of September.
He said that France considered that there should be "no more meetings" between EU and US negotiators to conclude a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
"There is no political backing by France to these negotiations anymore," Fekl told RMC radio and BFM TV, even though the Europeans can continue to negotiate "until the end of time [because] nobody can legally oppose it".
Fekl said that TTIP talks were "obscure" and that that the US "gives nothing or just crumbles".
"That is not how you negotiate between equals and allies," he said, adding that it was not the EU commission's fault.
The French minister's declaration comes two days after German vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said that TTIP talks had "de facto failed, even though nobody is really admitting it."
The EU commission, for its part, said on Monday that the "ball keeps rolling". Their chief negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero had also said that news of TTIP's demise was "greatly exaggerated".