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Brexit deal ‘good news for French economy’, says minister

A proposed Brexit withdrawal agreement is “good news for the French economy”, but Paris must keep an eye on its implementation, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday.

The fact that an agreement has been found “is good news for the French economy, good news for all French firms. It’s in everyone’s interest that Brexit should go ahead smoothly”, he told France 2 television.

“It should allow both us Europeans and Britain to find a way out which is in everybody’s interest,” he added.

But echoing comments made on Wednesday by government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux, Le Maire also warned that France should be “cautious” ahead of full agreement on the Brexit deal and “guard French and European interests”.

“If Britain remains in the customs’ union, we must be sure that Britain respects all European rules”, including “fiscal rules and environmental norms”, he said.

The deal “must not weaken our common market”, he added.

The near 600-page draft, negotiated with Brussels, covers citizens’ rights, concerns over Northern Ireland, and plans for a post-Brexit transition period during which both sides hope to agree a new trade deal.

British Prime Minister Theresa May faces an uphill struggle in trying to sell her Brexit deal to parliament.

Two ministers, including Brexit minister Dominic Raab, have resigned in protest against the agreement.

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