The dispute over fishing rights between France and Britain is ugly.
Governments in Paris and London have been showering each other with accusations for days. While French President Emmanuel Macron is demanding the British continue to give old French fishermen access to the waters in accordance with the Brexit trade agreement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson points to the lack of evidence and blocks the threatening tone.
The situation had already escalated last week: when the French authorities seized a British fishing vessel, the Foreign Office in London appointed the French ambassador – a taboo among close partners (including NATO).
In the 30-minute conversation, the fronts became solid
The diplomatic tablecloth – or better said, “a piece of fish cloth” – appeared to have been slashed between the former EU partners in a 30-minute conversation between the two leaders at Sunday’s G20 summit in Rome: Nothing was once a minimal approximation . The result: Macron and Johnson are now giving each other ultimatums.
Macron gives Johnson 24 hours
Macron made the start: “If the British do not take significant steps, action must be taken from November 2,” he said after speaking with Johnson. Specifically, British fishermen would not be allowed to bring their catch into French ports, and goods from the other side of the English Channel would be stricter.
As a last resort, France is not even ruling out stopping electricity exports to the UK.
British Foreign Secretary turns the tables
On Monday, British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss, 46, threatened “retaliatory measures” if Paris, she announced, becomes serious from Tuesday with tighter controls on goods and a moratorium on British ships.
“This problem must be resolved within the next 48 hours,” Truss told Sky News. Otherwise, London will launch the dispute settlement mechanism agreed in the Brexit agreement to claim compensation.
“Stop threatening British fishing boats. Stop threatening the canal ports. We accept that we are fully qualified to issue fishing licenses in accordance with the trade agreement,” Truss said.
Ian Gorst, representative of the Jersey Island Channel, part of the British crown, responsible for foreign relations, also rejected the allegations of France. In granting hunting licenses, he said, you act “as rationally as possible”.
“Then when I hear that the French are going to retaliate tomorrow, it is really frustrating. It just means being stupid.”