In the dispute over fishing licenses between Great Britain and France, all indications point to an escalation. “The situation has not changed,” said a spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
French President Emmanuel Macron offered Johnson “calm” during a meeting on Sunday (October 31). If London does not surrender, Paris will take retaliatory measures from Tuesday.
“The ball is in the British court,” Macron said. Johnson mentioned his location
The government has not changed.
Paris and London are arguing over fishing rights in British territorial waters after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. France accuses the British authorities of granting too few fishing permits to French ships.
According to the Brexit agreement with the European Union, fishermen are entitled to obtain a license if it can be shown that they were fishing in the waters in question prior to Brexit.
From Tuesday, Paris is threatening retaliatory measures such as tighter controls on goods and a ban on British fishermen in French ports if nothing is moved by the British side. Nor did the personal meeting between Macron and Johnson on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Rome yielded any progress.
The Elysee Palace said after the meeting that Macron and Johnson agreed to “take practical and practical measures as soon as possible to avoid an increase in tension”. Johnson and Macron agreed to “de-escalate”.
A spokesman for Johnson immediately dismissed this representation. “Our position has not changed,” the spokesman said. If the French government wants to make proposals for de-escalation, London “certainly welcomes” this. On the London side, no further meetings are planned or concrete actions taken at the moment.
Macron himself told reporters that he hoped to have an answer from the British by Monday. If London does not move further, Paris will act as planned on Tuesday.
In his press conference at the end of the G20 summit, Johnson said Britain and France were “longtime allies and friends”. However, his government’s position on fish has not changed.
According to the Elysee Palace, Paris will first report on Tuesday on whether the announced retaliatory measures will come into effect. The dispute concerns “a few dozen boats”, so a solution is entirely possible.
However, a British government spokesperson announced that the responsible authorities would continue to process the approval procedures for French and EU fishermen based only on existing information.
“We are ready to work with the French government and individual fishermen when they have the necessary data. There is nothing else to do.”
The spokesman said Johnson, in conversation with Macron, tried to finally persuade the European Union of changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The protocol is one of the most contentious issues in post-Brexit relations between Brussels and London. It stipulates that no customs controls will be implemented between the British province of Northern Ireland and Ireland, a member of the European Union. Instead, there should be controls between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
UK critics deplore this as a de facto limit within the UK. The European Union rejects drastic changes or even abolition of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which Johnson and his government signed last year after years of difficult negotiations.
Macron warned Johnson on Friday against losing credibility over the differences. “If you spent years negotiating a contract and then a few months later did the opposite of what was outlined in areas that were less favorable to you, that’s not a good sign of credibility,” he said. financial times.
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