Laura Kuennsberg on Macron's real motives behind fishing war
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The bitter war of words between the two countries erupted on Thursday after a UK trawler was detained in a French port. Last month, France were raging after the UK approved just 15 permits out of 47 applications for small French fishing boats to operate in its territorial waters. Jersey, which relies on France for 95 percent of its electricity supply, also issued 66 full licenses and 31 temporary permits, but refused 73 applications.
On Saturday, the UK’s Brexit minister Lord Frost took to Twitter and said: “I would like to set out where things stand between the UK and the EU on fisheries and related issues, and why recent French rhetoric and threats, potentially leading to a breach by the EU of its Treaty obligations, are such an important matter for us.”
But in reply, France’s Europe minister Beaune furiously hit back at Lord Frost.
Writing on Sunday morning, he said: “Following the Brexit deal (TCA), access was due to be granted within days to EU boats.
“We have now been negotiating patiently and constructively for 10 months, replying to a series of detailed and additional requests from British authorities, boat by boat.
“What is the current situation? We do not lack just a few licences, but more than 40 percent of French detailed requests.
“For the EU as a whole, around 90 percent of the expected licences have been granted, but all the missing ones are French.
“After 10 months, when such a significant amount of licences, targeting one country, is missing, it’s not a technical issue, it’s a political choice and a breach of the TCA.
“A friend, ally and responsible partner should stand by its world and comply with legal commitments.”
Mr Beaune added in further tweets: “This is why France asks for action at the EU level, within the framework of the TCA, and stands ready to implement proportionate and reversible measures from November 2nd, as we have announced repeatedly since last April.
“These measures are fully in line with the TCA.
“It’s positive to read that the UK cares about the TCA; France and the EU expect its full respect and implementation, regarding fishing rights, the Northern Ireland protocol and all other – agreed and ratified – matters.”
Lord Frost also attempted to explain the UK’s side of the story in the explosive fishing row with France.
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He launched a furious attack against French Prime Minister Jean Castex over comments he made to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Mr Castex said the UK should be shown “it causes more damage to leave the EU than to stay in”.
Lord Frost tweeted: “We have been in talks with the EU Commission for weeks on fisheries licensing & have granted 98 percent of applications.
“We do so in good faith & are fully delivering on our TCA obligation – to license vessels which can prove they have actually fished previously in our 6-12nm limit.
“That is why we are concerned and surprised by the comments seemingly made by @JeanCASTEX to @vonderLeyen that ‘it is indispensable to show European public opinion that … it causes more damage to leave the EU than to stay in’.
“I hope this opinion is not held more widely across the EU.
“To see it expressed in this way is clearly very troubling and very problematic in the current context when we are trying to solve many highly sensitive issues, including on the Northern Ireland Protocol.”
The UK’s Brexit minister further warned: “This is all the more so as the threats made by France this week to our fishing industry, to energy supplies, and to future cooperation, eg through the Horizon research programme, unfortunately, form part of a pattern that has persisted for much of this year.
“As I set out yesterday to @MarosSefcovic, these threats, if implemented on 2 November, would put the EU in breach of its obligations under our trade agreement. So we are actively considering launching dispute settlement proceedings as set out in Article 738 of the TCA.
“For our part we will continue to implement our obligations under the TCA.
“We will continue to talk constructively to try to resolve all the differences between us, and we urge the EU and France to step back from rhetoric and actions that make this more difficult.”
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