Macron warned fishing threats mean ‘harm all round’ for EU industries ‘dependent’ on UK

Macron's fishing threats would harm 'everybody' says expert

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France’s minister for Europe has called on the European Union to take retaliatory measures against Britain if there is no resolution to the post-Brexit row over fishing licences by December 10. The European Commission has said the dispute must be settled by that deadline as it upped the pressure on the UK in the negotiations. The leader of Britain’s National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisation Barrie Deas explained the fishing rows will “harm everybody”.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Deas said: “It would impact us ultimately down to the vessel level. I think it would impact on everybody.

“There are businesses in France and the EU that are dependent on fish and shellfish from the UK for their existence.

“There would be harm all around.

“It’s quite interesting that voices have now been raised within the French industry expressing concern about the implications of that.

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“Then there is a threat to zero-tolerance enforcement and I suppose the scalloper who was arrested in Le Harve is an example of that.

“There was some kind of administrative slip-up. Something like that would have been dealt with by a phone call.

“Clearly our vessels fishing in French waters would be exposed but there are many, many more French vessels fishing in UK waters than UK vessels fishing in French waters.

“If we were going to go down that tit for tat rabbit hole then everybody would be harmed.”

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Clement Beaune on Wednesday stressed it is not a Franco-British issue, but a problem between the whole of the European Union and the UK.

Mr Beaune said French punitive measures – such as a ban on British trawlers landing their catches in French ports and tighter customs checks to hamper cross-Channel trade – remain “on the table” if a deal cannot be reached.

He told French radio network RTL: “It was the European Commission that told the British – so all of Europe together – that if you don’t make big gestures with a lot of licences on December 10, we are no longer in a European dialogue.”

On the potential ban by the French, Mr Beaune added: “It’s one of the possible options but it’s better, to be honest, to have European measures.

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“All options are on the table because it’s better to have a dialogue, but… if it doesn’t bear fruit we can take European measures.”

France’s maritime minister Annick Girardin also warned of European retaliatory measures, telling the Ouest France newspaper on Tuesday that “London is testing the solidarity of the European Union” in the spat.

Mr Beaune said talks between Britain, France, and the European Commission on the issue have intensified and are happening daily.

The main source of contention is the number of licences to fish in waters around the British coastline for smaller French vessels that can prove they operated in those waters before Brexit.

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