French president Emmanuel Macron is reported to be intent on delaying a European Union financial services deal with Britain until Boris Johnson grants European fishermen “fair” access to UK waters.
“We’ve made a link between the two,” a source with knowledge of the French position said.
The post-Brexit dispute over access to the UK’s rich fishing grounds escalated last week as both Britain and France sent patrol vessels to Jersey as French fishermen threatened to blockade Saint Helier’s harbour.
“It’s not just France and it’s not just fishing,” said a European diplomat. “Britain must fully apply the agreements it signed up to, which is not the case right now.”
The diplomat said Britain was failing to adhere to the terms of a deal governing its post-Brexit trade ties with the EU. There can be no progress in other areas if these are not resolved, the person added.
However, Downing Street rejected the claims that Britain was breaching agreements.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We are taking a consistent, evidence-based approach to licensing EU vessels, using information supplied by the European Commission.
“This is another example of the EU issuing threats at any sign of difficulties instead of using the mechanisms of our new treaty to solve problems.
“We have always been clear that an agreement on financial services is in the best interests of both sides.”