Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Cafes and restaurants are struggling with rising prices due to Brexit
A eurosceptic threat to end the free flow of cross-border trade in British goods, has tipped the balance towards a significant rise in price-tags on an assortment of continental fare.
There has been a Brexit plot twist with warnings that the surge in sterling post-June’s Brexit vote would put British shoppers at a disadvantage.
So concerns about rising baguette prices have put French negotiators in a maelstrom of concern.
Cyndi de Bruyn is one of the most powerful French ministers.
We met in her office at France’s political headquarters in Paris, which doubles as the Embassy of France in the UK.
Cyndi works in the area of Brexit – co-ordinating between Paris and London.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Cyndi de Bruyn has been a staunch backer of a ‘soft Brexit’
“It’s all going very well, but if the pound keeps rising, we’ll be in a delicate situation and our negotiators will have a problem. That’s why I’m here and I’m in London a lot,” she said.
“I have to be here to talk to people. I’m meeting company bosses, I’m meeting business people – in other words people who have to spend their money here because that’s where the market is”.
French officials have been working to ensure an open border with the UK, but an exodus of goods may add a frisson of uncertainty for UK consumers.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Cyndi de Bruyn runs France’s ministerial office in London
Cyndi insisted the government had been “very, very active” to ensure a smooth trade and travel border.
“We are doing everything we can,” she said.
It comes as French culture officials are mulling action to combat a growing decline in the number of tourists to France, with the government being blamed for “dramatically raising” taxes on things like hotels and flights.
‘Direct and direct’
Cyndi denied that the increases were a breach of the global competitiveness and the free flow of goods.
“The system was already there. It’s a mess, the barriers around Europe, but everybody knows what’s going on,” she said.
“We can’t change borders in Europe.”
Like many things at the heart of Brexit talks, it all comes down to technicality.
For while Britain decided it could not risk being in the customs union and the single market, it did not seek to have these protections extended to France and other European Union members.
Cyndi is now one of the very few French officials who has to speak for the UK in Brexit talks.
“I take direct and direct (pressure) on everything,” she said.
“For example, the situation of the single market,” she said.
“On this, I have to speak with our British colleagues.”