Brexit: EU must ‘show damage’ to Britain as a warning to other nations, says French Prime Minister in escalating fishing line

The EU must show that Brexit has been “harmful” to Britain, the French Prime Minister told Brussels in a letter calling for support for tougher action in the context of the fisheries conflict in the Channel.

On Thursday, Jean Castex wrote a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen outlining the reasons why the EU should act against Britain due to the limited allocation of licenses to French fishermen to operate in British waters after Brexit.

He wrote that the EU had to make it clear that “leaving the Union is more harmful than staying in it”.

Paris threatens to increase control of British boats, stop them landing in French ports, slow customs arrangements in Calais and increase tariffs on energy bills in Jersey from Tuesday, unless French fishermen get more licenses for British waters around Jersey and Guernsey.

A translation of Mr Castex’s letter states: “The uncooperative attitude in the United Kingdom today risks causing great damage not only to fishermen, mainly French, but also to [European] setting a precedent for the future and challenging our credibility and our ability to assert our rights with regard to international obligations signed by the Union.

“It therefore seems necessary for the EU to show its full will to achieve full respect for the United Kingdom Agreement and to assert its rights by using the levers at its disposal in a firm, comprehensive and proportionate manner.

“It is important to clearly show the European public that respect for the commitment shown is non-negotiable and that there is more harm in leaving the union than in staying there.”

Sir. Castex continued in its letter: “If there is no satisfactory solution in this context, the European Union will have to apply Article 506 of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement and take corrective action in a manner commensurate with the economic and social damage. as a result of the breaches. “

He suggested to Mrs Von der Leyen that they could impose “duties on certain fishery products” as punishment.

“Restoring confidence” is that Britain is giving French fishermen more fishing permits, his letter also says.

Boris Johnson has said he would “do what is necessary to safeguard British interests” if France carried out its threats on the licenses.

He said the Anglo-French relationship was under “turbulence” and that the French authorities’ decision to seize a British fishing vessel may have violated international law.

Johnson will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron this weekend at the G20 summit in Rome for their first face-to-face meeting in four months – after both sides accused each other of breaking the Brexit agreement.

The Prime Minister, who arrived in Rome last night, responded to the French threats by saying: “We fear that there may be a breach of the trade cooperation agreement implicit in what is happening. We will stand by to take the necessary measures.”

In an interview with Financial Times, Mr Macron suggested that Britain’s “credibility” was at stake in the dispute.

He told the newspaper: “When you spend years negotiating a treaty and then a few months later doing the opposite of what was decided on the aspects that suit you the least, it is not a big sign of your credibility.”

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