London says Paris should again down in acrimonious dispute over fishing licences as menace of French sanctions looms.
France has 48 hours to again down in a bitter dispute over fishing rights, or face authorized motion from London below the Brexit commerce deal, the United Kingdom has warned.
On Monday, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss stated Paris had “behaved unfairly” and made “completely unreasonable threats”, with the 2 sides at loggerheads over the variety of licences the UK has handed French vessels eager to fish in its territorial waters.
France has stated it may impose focused measures from Tuesday, together with stopping UK boats touchdown in its ports and tightening customs checks on British items getting into the nation, if there isn’t any decision to the dispute.
London says it distributes fishing licences below rules within the post-Brexit deal it signed with the European Union in December final 12 months, however Paris claims some French vessels have been denied permits to function in areas the place they’ve lengthy fished.
Truss stated she would “absolutely” take authorized motion within the coming days if France pressed forward with its threatened sanctions.
“This issue needs to be resolved in the next 48 hours,” she informed Sky News. “They need to withdraw those threats or else we will use the mechanisms of our trade agreement with the EU to take action.”
Truss’s remarks got here after France stated on Sunday that it was as much as the UK to resolve the dispute, which intensified final week when French authorities detained a British trawler.
The two sides painted completely different photos of a gathering between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of a Group of 20 (G20) summit in Rome.
Johnson stated London’s place was unchanged however added he was “puzzled” to learn a letter from Paris to the EU asking “for Britain to be punished for leaving the EU”.
“I don’t believe that is compatible either with the spirit or the letter of the Withdrawal Agreement of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement,” he stated, referring to the Brexit divorce and commerce offers.
Macron, additionally talking at a post-summit information convention, stated he wished an settlement.
“I don’t want escalation,” he stated. “I don’t want to have to use retaliation measures, because that wouldn’t help our fishermen.”
Macron stated Paris had given proposals to London and “now the ball is in Britain’s court”.
The fishing subject dogged Brexit talks for years, not due to its financial significance however moderately its political significance.
Fishing makes a small contribution to the French and British economies however is a lifeline for some coastal communities.