As France continues to make threats towards the United Kingdom, the EU is being urged to step in and intervene.
There are still disagreements between France and the United Kingdom about post-Brexit fishing rights, with Paris increasingly pressing for Brussels to exert “pressure” on the United Kingdom and stand with France.
Clement Beaune, France’s Europe minister, said on Friday on BFM TV that Emmanuel Macron’s administration would never forsake French fishermen and will maintain its “obsession” with the UK’s new fishing restrictions.
“There is no abandonment of our fishermen,” he remarked.”
“We are fighting with them, and for them, we will continue, with two obsessions: dialogue and pressure from France and the European Union.”
President Macron echoed his remarks, saying that a spat over fishing licences is “playing with our nerves.”
France is threatening to bar British fishing boats from landing their catch at French ports until the issue is handled, which has led to a post-Brexit conflict over fishing licences for waters off British coastlines and around Jersey.
Mr Macron also said on Friday that he would continue to fight for his fishermen. “We are going to continue to fight,” Mr Macron said to reporters. “We will not abandon our fishermen.”
While the European Commission conducted discussions between the two sides, French threats were dropped, but Mr Macron seemed to indicate the talks were going too long.
He said, “The Commission must protect us. It has to see this through, but it’s moving too slowly, too weakly.”
“If the Commission doesn’t play its part, France will do it,” he continued.
Since Britain’s exit from the European Union, Paris claims London should have granted more French vessels with fishing licences in British territorial seas. Britain claims to be abiding by the terms of the agreement.
The issue revolves around issuing fishing licences in territorial waters six to twelve nautical miles off the coasts of the United Kingdom and the seas off the Channel Island of Jersey.
Annick Girardin, France’s Maritime Minister, stated earlier on Friday that France will “continue to fight every day to get what should be ours and so that those 150 licences arrive.”
Lord Frost, the Brexit minister, met with Clement Beaune and the European Commission to attempt to resolve the dispute over small boats.
However, the disagreement has still to be resolved. Paris has said that consequences, such as a ban on British trawlers landing their catches in French ports and harsher customs procedures to stymie cross-Channel commerce, are still “on the table” if a settlement cannot be struck.
The French have also threatened to shut off Jersey’s power supply.
On Oct. 31, Macron and Prime Minister Boris Johnson met in Rome for a short discussion of the disagreement, but there was no indication that it would be addressed.
Both leaders are under internal pressure to maintain their positions.
“This isn’t a question for France and the British, but a question of respecting your word,” Mr Macron added, refusing to return to a bilateral debate.