‘Make UK pay!’ Fuming Macron takes hardline as punishment vowed over fishing spat
France: Charles-Henri Gallois reveals ‘issue’ for fishermen
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France, the UK and Jersey have been at loggerheads over fishing rights in waters around Jersey and the wider English Channel. French fishermen protested about Jersey introducing new fishing licences after April 30 for vessels whilst the UK has come under fire from Paris for allegedly not giving out 100 fishing licences to eligible boats to access waters.
But Express.co.uk understands Paris has turned up the pressure against London ahead of French President Emanuel Macron visiting Cornwall for the G7 Summit tomorrow.
French ministers including Europe Minister Clément Beaune and Minister of the Sea Annick Girardin have also had discussions with EU chiefs in Brussels including Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius in a bid to reach a practical solution as soon as possible.
Ahead of the summit, the Elysee Palace tonight said President Macron warned Boris Johnson in a phone call the UK needs to urgently issue fishing licenses that have still not been issued to French vessels.
A spokesman for Mr Macron also said the President called on Mr Johnson to address the Jersey situation as soon as possible.
Following today’s summit between EU Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic and Brexit minister Lord Frost, Brussels sources stressed the French were “putting the pressure” on the bloc to deliver a solution to fishing.
One source added to Express.co.uk: “With France, it’s all about tough action, we are leaning towards a ‘UK must pay’ approach.
“The message is simple: Britain is not respecting the Trade and Cooperation Agreement so we should put in place retaliatory measures.”
But the UK Government made clear it would “exercise regulatory autonomy” within British waters after holding the key talks on Wednesday about implementing the Brexit deal.
A spokesperson said the UK would continue to “take pragmatic steps to ease the transition to the new arrangements for EU fishermen including on licences.”
UK Government sources said the meeting of today’s EU Partnership Council and Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee was “insightful” on fishing rights.
It comes after French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the French Government will use “coercive measures” against the UK to ensure Westminster plays by the Brexit agreement’s fishing rules.
He claimed the UK “unilaterally do not respect” commitments agreed as part of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement signed by the EU and the United Kingdom on December 24th.
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In a letter to regional fishing chiefs, he added: “The British, unilaterally and without any prior consultation, do not respect the commitments made within the framework of the agreement.
“They interpret the stipulations in such a way as to empty them of their substance or even impose new conditions not only not foreseen in the agreement but which moreover are in contradiction with the spirit of the said agreement ”.
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