- France says it is discussing new proposals with the British
- Macron: We will take stock at the end of Tuesday
- Fishing line could escalate into a larger trade dispute
- London warns Paris against possible legal action
LONDON / GLASGOW, November 1 (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday he was postponing planned trade sanctions against Britain by one day so negotiators on both sides could work on new proposals to defuse their dispute over post-Brexit fishing rights.
France had previously said that from 11 p.m. GMT on Monday it would restrict cross-Channel trade, threatening to turn the fish feud into a broader trade dispute between two of Europe’s largest economies.
But Macron, who met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the sidelines of the UN climate conference in Glasgow on Monday, told reporters the French plan was on hold pending the outcome of the resumption of talks.
“Since this afternoon, discussions have resumed on the basis of a proposal I made to Prime Minister (Boris) Johnson. Discussions must continue,” Macron told reporters.
“I understood that the British were going to come back to us tomorrow with other proposals. All of this will be worked on. We will see where we are tomorrow at the end of the day, to see if things have really changed,” he said. he adds. he said.
“My wish is that we can find a way out of all these questions. “
Earlier Monday, Britain gave France 48 hours to drop the threat of sanctions or face legal action under the Brexit trade deal.
The measures threatened by France include increasing border and health checks on goods arriving from Britain and banning British ships from certain French ports, measures which have the potential to scold cross-Channel trade.
“The French have made totally unreasonable threats, including against the Channel Islands and our fishing industry, and they must withdraw those threats, otherwise we will use the mechanisms of our trade agreement with the EU to act,” he said. British Foreign Secretary Liz said. Truss told Sky News.
When asked when France is expected to back down, Truss said: “This issue needs to be resolved within the next 48 hours.”
Britain and France have argued for decades over access to rich fishing grounds around their Channel coasts.
The issue of fisheries haunted the negotiations that led to Britain’s exit from the European Union, not because of its economic importance – it is small – but rather because of its political importance.
Britain’s reaffirmation of control over its fishing grounds was a central part of the Brexit dossier Johnson presented to British voters. Macron, meanwhile, risks re-election next year and must be seen defending the trawler crews of his country, a vocal political constituency.
The latest row erupted in September after Paris accused London of not having awarded enough post-Brexit licenses to French boats to fish in the area 6-12 nautical miles from the British coast.
Britain says it is issuing licenses to vessels that can prove they have fished in its waters before – a central demand from British fishermen who fear French boats could wipe out their own profits.
Last Wednesday, French authorities seized a British scallop dredge, the Cornelis Gert Jan, in French waters near Le Havre, angering London.
On Monday afternoon, anticipating a further rise in tensions once the French deadline expired, fishing crews from France and Britain were staying out of their waters, according to vessel traffic monitoring data and an industry representative French.
Additional reports by Kylie MacLellan and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Sandra Maler
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