No. 10 Johnson-Macron refuses agreement to end fishing war


owning Street has denied that Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron have reached an agreement to de-escalate their increasingly bitter strife over post-Brexit fishing rights.

Following a meeting between the two leaders in connection with the G20 summit in Rome, French officials were reported to have said they had agreed to try to resolve their disagreements.

But in a briefing for British journalists, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman made it clear that Britain did not acknowledge the allegations that there had been an agreement.

“I have seen the same reporting,” the spokesman said.

“It will be up to the French to decide whether to step down from the threats they have made in recent days about breaches of the Brexit (trade) agreement,” the spokesman said.

French officials have warned they will block British fishing boats from some ports and tighten customs controls on lorries entering the country with British goods from Tuesday, unless more licenses are given to their small boats to fish in British.

The UK has said the threats represent a breach of the post-Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) concluded between the UK and the EU, warning that it could trigger the dispute mechanism under the terms of the agreement.

Johnson’s spokesman said: “The Prime Minister reiterated his deep concern at the rhetoric emanating from the French Government in recent days, including the French Prime Minister’s proposal that Britain be punished for leaving the EU.

“He expressed the hope that the French government would de-escalate this rhetoric and withdraw their threats.”

There is frustration on the British side that the dispute between the two sides has at times overshadowed the build-up to crucial international climate change at the Cop26 summit, which begins in Glasgow on Monday.

The series follows claims from the French that dozens of French boats have received their applications to fish in British and Channel Islands waters, claims that the British have strongly disputed.

In the run-up to the meeting between the two leaders, there were few signs of compromise on either side.


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