France's Europe Minister Amélie de Montchalin: 'Peace in Ireland is not negotiable'
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Our guest is France's Secretary of State for European Affairs, Amélie de Montchalin. She told us she still hopes for a Brexit deal. Asked about a further Brexit extension, she said France could be favourable to one, but not on a "time for time" basis. "We need to justify why we give time", she explained. De Montchalin added: “We do not want a no-deal Brexit… But we have to get prepared”. Finally, she underlined that "peace in Ireland is not negotiable".
Turning to the Turkish offensive in northern Syria, De Montchalin expressed her concern. "What disturbs me the most is that for five years, Turkey, the US, France and others have supported a coalition to fight Daesh (another term for the Islamic State group) in this zone and we fought alongside the people who are now targeted by this Turkish move. Our feeling is that everybody should be taking their responsibilities, including the US." She called for a ceasefire and warned that the Turkish operation could create 450,000 more refugees.
Asked about the rejection of Sylvie Goulard, France's commissioner-designate, by the European Parliament, De Montchalin said MEPs have "opened a major crisis, a crisis of confidence between the Commission, the Parliament and the Council". She added that the incoming president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, "now has to move forward and find solutions".
A programme presented by Catherine Nicholson
Produced by Mathilde Bénézet and Perrine Desplats
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