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Remote fight between Macron and Johnson for post-Brexit fishing – RT en français
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Remote fight between Macron and Johnson for post-Brexit fishing – RT en français
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The tone rises on each side of the Channel: Emmanuel Macron considered that the attitude of London was “not a great proof of […] credibility ”and Boris Johnson announced that he would do“ whatever is necessary to defend British interests ”.

In an interview with Financial Times published on the evening of October 29, French President Emmanuel Macron said the UK’s “credibility” was at stake in post-Brexit disputes over fishing licenses and the Northern Irish protocol. Earlier today, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had promised to “do what is necessary” to defend the interests of his country in the conflict between him and France over post-Brexit fishing licenses. The two are expected to meet face-to-face in Rome over the weekend, on the sidelines of the G20 leaders’ summit ahead of COP26 in Glasgow.

“We will do what is necessary to defend British interests,” Boris Johnson told reporters on the plane to Rome where he is to participate in the G20 summit this weekend, before continuing in these terms: “France is one of our best, oldest, closest allies, friends, partners [et] the bonds that unite us, that bind us, are much stronger than the current turmoil in our relationship […] And that’s what I’ll say to Emmanuel [Macron], who is a friend, whom I have known for years. “

France criticizes the United Kingdom for granting too few post-Brexit fishing licenses to its fishermen. It threatened to ban British fishing vessels from offloading their cargo in French ports as early as November 2 and to strengthen customs controls on trucks, if the situation did not improve by then.

We will stand ready to take appropriate action

“We are concerned that this is a violation of the terms of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement [entre Londres et l’Union européenne]Boris Johnson said, adding that if France followed through on its threats, his government would stand ready to “take appropriate action.” In retaliation, the United Kingdom plans to implement “rigorous controls” on European boats spawning in its waters. It also plans to “launch a dispute settlement procedure” provided for by the post-Brexit trade agreement.

For Emmanuel Macron, the credibility of Boris Johnson is at stake

Emmanuel Macron, for his part, expressed himself in these terms in the British economic daily: “Make no mistake, this does not only concern Europeans but all their partners. Because when you spend years negotiating a treaty and a few months later you do the opposite of what was decided on the aspects that suit you the least, that is not much proof of your credibility. “

The French president assured that there had been neither “provocation” nor “tension” on the issue of fishing rights. “We must respect each other [mutuellement et] respect the word that has been given, ”he nevertheless declared. While considering that it was a “test for the credibility” of the British Prime Minister and his government, the French president said he was sure of the “good will” of the United Kingdom.

In London, the Ambassador of France to the United Kingdom Catherine Colonna was however summoned on October 29, an extremely rare step between allied countries. She left without a word after only 20 minutes of interview at the Foreign Office, where Secretary of State Wendy Morton “expressed her disappointment at the confrontational tone consistently employed by the French government, which does not make the situation any easier to resolve,” according to the British report.

The post-Brexit agreement – concluded in extremis at the end of 2020 between London and Brussels – provides that European fishermen can continue to work in certain British waters, under certain conditions. London claims to have granted 98% of EU vessel license applications to fish in its waters, a figure disputed by France, which speaks of 90%. In areas still disputed in particular, London and Jersey have granted just over 210 definitive licenses, but Paris is still claiming more than 200.

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