Accept EU deal or face ‘economic disaster’, French minister warns Brexiters

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said that ‘there are a number of lying and irresponsible politicians in Britain who told the British people that Brexit would turn out to be a golden tomorrow.’ (AFP)
Updated 16 November 2018
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Accept EU deal or face ‘economic disaster’, French minister warns Brexiters

PARIS: French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said Friday that Brexit advocates must choose between accepting the deal negotiated by London and Brussels for leaving the EU or risk “economic disaster.”
“The choice now faced by British political leaders who have advocated Brexit is to renounce their absurd political promise or face economic disaster, with the British people the main victims,” Le Maire said at a Paris forum on reforming the World Trade Organization.
“What does Brexit demonstrate? It shows that leaving the common European market has an exorbitant economic cost,” he said.
“There are a number of lying and irresponsible politicians in Britain who told the British people that Brexit would turn out to be a golden tomorrow,” he added.
Le Maire’s comments came as British Prime Minister Theresa May battles to salvage her draft Brexit deal and her own political future.
After a tumultuous Thursday in which several ministers resigned and members of her own conservative party plotted to oust her, May said in a radio interview Friday that she believed with “every fiber of my being” in the Brexit course.
Members of parliament on all sides have warned her there is no way the plan can win their approval, but she has dismissed calls to quit, saying: “Am I going to see this through? Yes!”
Critics of the deal say May has conceded too much to Brussels, while EU supporters are calling for a new vote on whether to leave the union.


Canada says China has granted consular access to second detainee

In this file photo taken on January 13, 2014, Michael Spavor walks with former US basketball player Dennis Rodman (not in picture) as they are surrounded by the media after arriving at Beijing International Airport from North Korea. (AFP)
Updated 46 min 42 sec ago
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Canada says China has granted consular access to second detainee

  • US prosecutors accuse Meng of misleading multinational banks about Iran-linked transactions, putting the banks at risk of violating US sanctions

OTTAWA: Canadian diplomats received consular access on Sunday to the second of two men detained by China over the past week, Canada’s foreign ministry said in a statement that gave few details.
John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to Beijing, met Michael Spavor, the statement said. Spavor and Michael Kovrig were both picked up after Canada arrested a senior Chinese executive on a US extradition request.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — who said on Friday the detentions were unacceptable — told CTV his government was taking the situation very seriously.
“We have engaged with the Chinese officials to determine what exactly conditions are they being detained under? Why are they being detained?” he said in an interview aired on Sunday. McCallum met Kovrig for the first time in Friday.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that China should free the two men.
Spavor, a businessman, and Kovrig, a former diplomat, were detained after Canadian police arrested Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, on Dec 1.
US prosecutors accuse Meng of misleading multinational banks about Iran-linked transactions, putting the banks at risk of violating US sanctions. Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei’s founder, has said she is innocent.
China has demanded Canada free Meng and threatened unspecified consequences if it does not.
On Monday, influential state-back newspaper the Global Times said in an editorial that an escalation in the spat with Canada could be coming.
“In the struggle with Canada, China needs to prepare for the possibility of conflict escalation,” it said.
“Beijing must take the contest seriously and maximize the support of international public opinion, leaving Western media no smear to slander its counterattacks as ‘degradation of China’s opening-up.’“
Trudeau told CTV that Canada would continue trying to build up trading ties with China.
“We need to do so in a way that is true to our values and stands up for Canadians’ interests, and getting that balance right is complex. (It) has been made more difficult by recent trends,” he said.