The French government rejects claims that President Emmanuel Macron has changed course on Brexit, the Elysée Palace said on Friday.
Manon Hirtz, press attaché to the French presidency, told CNN that France’s position on Brexit is “clear, known and constant.”
Hirtz was responding to a CNN question about former British prime minister Gordon Brown reportedly saying in a speech that Macron “is no longer in favor of a fixed deadline for Brexit.”
Brown also said: “I have been speaking to EU leaders and I believe next week the EU will withdraw the 31 October deadline, so removing Johnson’s excuse for no deal,” according to Andrew Adonis, a Labour peer.
Brown’s office did not respond to repeated CNN questions about the speech. The European Union does not have the power to withdraw the October 31 Brexit deadline without UK agreement, according to Article 50.
Macron spokeswoman Hirtz added that the French president had reiterated his position last week during Boris Johnson’s visit to Paris.
In a joint statement, Macron had said it was “up to the UK to decide its destiny” after a “long negotiated deal.” He added it is “not up to any European country alone to negotiate or renegotiate that deal.”
Late on Thursday, the British government announced it was intensifying talks with Brussels in the hope of negotiating a new deal and a way out of the impasse on the Irish backstop.
However, in his joint statement last week, Macron said the backstop was "not simply technical constraints but vital guarantees for the preservation of stability in Ireland and the integrity of the single market which is the basis of the European project."