France has told Britain all options remain on the table in the row over post-Brexit fishing rights, warning ministers they must be true to their words for continued co-operation.
France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune warned the UK against celebrating “quick wins” over neighbours, with the need to work together on security matters and foreign policy.
He said on Monday night that France wants a “constructive solution” over the number of licences granted to trawlers to fish in British waters, which he described as still being “not at all” satisfactory.
But he said Paris would consider taking action if the dispute is not solved, with threats including tighter checks and a ban on British trawlers landing catches in French ports.
“We still have all options on the table, including these measures, we will prefer to have it on the EU level but if nothing happens at the EU level we will take French measures. But I don’t want to go into that,” he told an event hosted by the Politico website.
“It would be a mistake to think you can have quick wins, or short-term wins, with your neighbours.
“If we want to work together… on defence, and security, and foreign policy, and crises like the one we see in Belarus, or maybe in Ukraine, in the Balkans, which is a big concern for the UK as well, you need trust and to be true to your words. If we have doubts, it’ll never work.
“So I say to the UK again, this is (in) your best interest to settle this.”
Talks are ongoing between Britain, France and the European Union to settle the main source of contention, which is the number of licences granted to smaller French vessels to fish in waters around the British coastline.
Mr Beaune made clear that France remains unhappy about the situation, saying: “We’re not there yet, that’s clear. So it’s not a satisfactory issue, not at all.”