France fishing row: Paris ‘will not yield’ to UK in Brexit disagreement, Macron says
France “will not yield” to Britain amid the ongoing dispute over fishing rights, Emmanuel Macron has said.
The French president accused the UK of playing with his country’s nerves in the post-Brexit row.
“We have not got what we wanted. They are playing with our nerves,” Mr Macron said during a visit to Aulnoye-Ameries in northern France. “We will not yield.”
France had said it was waiting for 150 more licences to be issued to French vessels to allow them to fish in British waters.
Relations between London and Paris have become increasingly fraught following Britain’s decision to leave the EU in 2016.
Fishing has become a major point of contention because of its political significance for both sides.
Mr Macron’s administration has said Boris Johnson’s government should have issued more licenses for French boats to fish in British territorial waters.
But the UK has countered by saying it is respecting the arrangements that were agreed.
The licences would allow French fishermen to fish in territorial waters six to 12 nautical miles off the UK’s shores, and in the seas off the Channel Island of Jersey.
Earlier on Friday French Maritime Minister Annick Girardin said the country would “continue to fight every day to get what should be ours and so that those 150 licences arrive”.
The ongoing row previously saw France briefly seize a British fishing boat in its waters in October and both countries sent maritime vessels to waters off Jersey earlier this year.
Mr Macron discussed the dispute with Mr Johnson briefly in Rome on 31 October, but there was little indication it would be resolved.
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Both sides are under pressure to remain strong on the issue, with Mr Macron making his remarks after conservative Xavier Bertrant, a potential opponent in a presidential election next year, urged him to do more to defend the interests of French fishermen.
Far-right politician Marine Le Pen, another potential rival, wrote on Twitter: “Faced with the British, Emmanuel Macron has capitulated before even beginning the battle.”
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