Europe moving too slowly to resolve UK-France fishing row, says Macron

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(PA) (PA Wire)
(PA) (PA Wire)

French President Emmanuel Macron has said a row 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.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron (Yves Herman/PA) (PA Wire)
France’s President Emmanuel Macron (Yves Herman/PA) (PA Wire)

Speaking to reporters, 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.

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.

The French have also threatened to cut off the electric supply to Jersey.

“I refuse returning to a bilateral discussion,” Mr Macron said, because “this isn’t a question for France and the British, but a question of respecting your word”.

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