In a heated with exchange with French MEP Nathalie Loiseau, BBC broadcaster Andrew Neil pointed out four reasons why the EU needs to agree a trade deal with the UK. He said: “The Eurozone is stagnating, France is rocked by strikes and unrest, Germany is in industrial recession, Italy is in economic recession. Are you sure that the EU could afford no deal?”
Ms Loiseau then appeared to mock the presenter, and said: “I am surprised that a journalist doesn’t know that there are no strikes anymore in France.”
Mr Neil interjected: “You had two months of strikes.”
The French MEP responded: “Yes and we survived it.”
Ms Loiseau then answered Mr Neil’s original question, and said: “But you are right I’m not sure we can afford to play these games of hurting each other.
“I do believe that a strong partnership is preferable to any sort of no deal and we stand ready for an ambitious offer and for this it takes two to tango.”
Earlier on the in the interview the French politician insisted it was “up to the UK” to offer agreeable terms for a UK-EU trade deal.
She said: “It’s really up to the UK to decide what sort of relationship it wants with the EU but it will come with consequences.”
Ms Loiseau then said the “most profitable relationship” would be one that remains closely aligned with the bloc.
During the interview, the French politician also accused Mr Neil of being “Boris Johnson’s spokesperson”.
The broadcaster questioned Ms Loiseau over whether the EU would agree to level up to UK standards in a trade deal.
This comment seemed to frustrate the MEP who went on to question why this issue had suddenly become so important.
She questioned whether the British people had been well informed in their vote for Boris Johnson’s Tory Government and their intentions on the environment, state aides and Labour laws.
Mr Neil listed the difference between the UK and EU member states regarding state aide and labour laws.
He said: “The UK enjoys 39 weeks of paid maternity leave in France you only get 16.
“France spends twice as much on state aide to business.”
The French MEP interrupted and said: “That is the only example that you keep on repeating.
“I was not aware I was talking to the spokesperson of Boris Johnson”