Britain is 'obsessed' with France and is using fishing row to distract from Brexit, says French minister
By SEAMLESS DAILY
08 October 2021
Tempers have flared, too, over the longstanding problem of migrant crossings in small craft from France to the UK, with the home secretary Priti Patel's plan to turn back boats and withhold cash for French coastal patrols dismissed by her Paris counterpart, Gérard Darmanin, as "blackmail" and “ posturing ”.
Boris Johnson, though he later professed Britain's "ineradicable" affection for France, mocked French anger in franglais, saying Paris should “ prenez un grip and donnez-moi un break ”.
France will "hold firm" in a dispute with Britain over fishing licences, a minister has said as he launched a stinging attack on what he described as the UK's failed Brexit.
From the French perspective, attacking France allows Johnson ( whom Paris views as profoundly unserious ) to distract, for example, from Britain ’ s recent supply chain crisis – which, as a consequence of Brexit, Paris is only too happy to highlight.
“ You only have to look at the front pages of the tabloids. ” But while it was “ normal to experience ups and downs in the relationship ”, she said, the current level of acrimony appeared almost unprecedented.
Ricketts, who as chair of Britain's Joint Intelligence Committee under Tony Blair experienced at first hand the more than usually bitter Franco-British quarrel over the US-led invasion of Iraq, said that was "a very sharp, but short-lived difference".
'We can't predict everything, and the wholesale market, as we 've seen, has gone up and down extremely quickly so we can't predict fully what that will be,' he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
I can ’ t see things changing in France before the next presidential election – and in the UK, it could take longer."
London and Paris are embroiled in a war of words after the UK government last month granted just 12 licences to small French boats to fish in British coastal waters.
Government officials defended the decision, saying it was a "reasonable" approach and fully in line with the UK's commitments set out in the Trade and Co-operation Agreement.
Paris's noisy European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune lashed out at the UK's Brexit 'failures' and said that France's trawlermen would not 'pay the price' for the UK's decision to leave.
"The Brits need us to sell their products," he said.
"They failed on Brexit.
It was a bad choice.
Threatening us, threatening our fishermen, will not settle their supply of turkey at Christmas," he added.
Earlier this week, prime minister Jean Castex said France was ready to review bilateral cooperation with Britain if London continues to ignore the agreement reached over fishing rights in its post-Brexit trading relationship with the EU.
French fishermen have also said they could block the northern port of Calais and Channel Tunnel rail link, both major transit points for trade between Britain and continental Europe, if London does not grant more fishing licences in the next 17 days.
'if they don't come to that."
Paris is infuriated by London's refusal to grant what it considers the full number of licenses due to French fishing boats to operate in Britain's territorial waters, and is threatening retaliatory measures.
There have been threats of retaliatory measures as the row threatens to spiral out of control.
They handed down the ultimatum a day after skippers vowed to block the port of Calais and the Channel Tunnel unless their demands were met.
Speaking to BFM TV in France today Mr Baume- one of Emmanuel Macron's most outspoken ministers, vented on the subject again.
French boats were free to fish in the six-to-12 mile zone when the UK was in the EU, but now have to prove that they previously did so.
Beaune said France had asked for 450 fishing licences but had only received 275.
Earlier this week a senior EU diplomat claimed France was 'overplaying' the row ahead of next year's presidential election.
The source said : 'It looks good for President Macron right now to be tough on the British. '
The Brexit trade agreement, signed by both sides last year, reduces the catch for EU trawlers in British waters by 25 per cent over five-years.
The French government wants other EU members to support their push for Britain to be brought before an arbitration panel set up to thrash out post-Brexit disputes.
Experts said the Russian president had substantial scope to boost gas supplies to the West – but he was using the issue as leverage in a bid to win approval for a new pipeline.
The National Grid says the gap between energy supply and demand this year is likely to be at its lowest level for six years.
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