French fisheries may be exposed in UK 'tit-for-tat' says expert
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Les Patriotes leader, Florian Philippot, published a clip of Mr Macron on Twitter from his speech on Friday, in which the French leader said he would “never let go of French fishermen” in the country’s ongoing Brexit row with the UK.
Mr Macron said a row with Britain over the granting of fishing licences is “playing with our nerves”.
A post-Brexit dispute has emerged over the granting of fishing licences for the seas off British shores and also surrounding Jersey, with Paris threatening to block British boats from landing their catches in French ports if the row is not resolved.
And on Friday, Mr Macron said he would continue to fight for his fishermen.
But drawing parallels with the French President’s unkept promises in relation to coronavirus measures, Mr Philippot argued Mr Macron’s pledge to fishermen will be another one of his “betrayals”.
He said: “‘I will never let go of our fishermen’ is the new ‘I will never make vaccination compulsory, I will never extend the Health Pass to restaurants, I will never extend the Pass after November 15’.
“Macron betrayed the French fishermen like everything else!”
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Mr Macron said: “We are going to continue to fight, we will not abandon our fishermen.”
French threats were taken off the table while the European Commission brokered talks between the two sides, but Mr Macron appeared to suggest the negotiations were taking too long.
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He said: “The Commission must protect us. It has to see this through, but it’s moving too slowly, too weakly.”
He added: “If the Commission doesn’t play its part, France will do it.”
Brexit minister Lord Frost has met with French Europe minister, Clement Beaune, and the Commission, to try and find an answer to the row over small vessels.
But there has been no resolution yet to the dispute and Paris has insisted the sanctions – which could include 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.
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The French have also threatened to cut off the electric supply to Jersey.
Mr Macron added: “I refuse to return to a bilateral discussion.
“This isn’t a question for France and the British, but a question of respecting your word.”
Paris says London should have issued more French boats with licences to fish in British territorial waters since Britain left the European Union. Britain says it is respecting the arrangements that were agreed.
The dispute centres on the issuance of licences to fish in territorial waters six to 12 nautical miles off Britain’s shores, and in the seas off the Channel Island of Jersey.
Maritime Minister Annick Girardin said earlier on Friday that France would “continue to fight every day to get what should be ours and so that those 150 licences arrive”.
Tension has flared repeatedly in the row. France briefly seized a British fishing boat in its waters in October, and both countries sent maritime vessels to waters off the Channel island of Jersey earlier this year.
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