Fishing after Brexit: Emmanuel Macron advocates for “de-escalation”, Boris Johnson stands firm

French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday 31 October discussed “practical measures” in the “next few days” to promote “a de-escalation” in the fishing dispute between France and Kingdom-United. decided to work. Elysee announced. This is to ensure that “practical and operational measures are taken as soon as possible to avoid escalation of tension,” explained the French presidency after a meeting between the two leaders in Rome. The same source said an update would be made on Tuesday about whether or not Paris would implement the retaliation.

But Elysee and Downing Street gave two different versions of the discussion between Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson while both waited for the leaders to speak publicly at a press conference scheduled for the afternoon. The French president confirmed that Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson agreed that “joint work” should be done so that “practical and operational measures are taken as soon as possible” to promote “de-escalation”. Without giving details of the envisaged arrangements, he insisted that “a solution” was possible as the dispute pertained to only “a few dozen French yachts”.

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The holding of such talks was not confirmed by the British side, which in a more aggressive tone emphasized the need for Paris to withdraw its threats. According to a Downing Street spokesman, Boris Johnson “reiterated his deep concern about the rhetoric of the French government in recent days,” specifically citing Prime Minister Jean Casteux’s words that “the UK has to leave the European Union”. should be punished”.

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Respecting the “laws of the game”

Elysee indicated it would make an update on Tuesday on whether or not to implement retaliatory measures announced by Paris, specifically to prevent British fishing vessels from unloading their cargo in French ports and to strengthen customs controls. for. trucks. These decisions were deemed “disproportionate” by London, which in rare cases summoned the French ambassador and threatened, in retaliation, to tighten control over European ships originating in its waters. “Even though Boris Johnson is still trying to make it a Franco-British subject, it is the post-Brexit case being handled between the EU and the United Kingdom,” Elysee said on Sunday. “We are waiting for him to respect the rules of the game and his signature” of the post-Brexit deal.

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The agreement, concluded in late 2020 between London and Brussels, provides that European fishermen can continue to operate in some British waters, provided they can prove that they were fishing there previously. But the French and British debate the nature and extent of supporting documents to be provided. Paris thus accused London of granting post-Brexit fishing licenses to too few European fishermen.

On the sidelines of the G20, Boris Johnson complained to the head of European executive Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday of “totally unreasonable” threats from Paris, and indicated London was “actively” considering a device for the first time . The resolution was provided in post-Brexit agreements with the European Union.

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