‘Few raised eyebrows!’ Laura Kuennsberg reveals Macron’s real motives behind fishing war

Laura Kuennsberg reveals Macron's real motives behind fishing war

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Laura Kuenssberg suggested President Emmanuel Macron may be seeking to “benefit” from a row with Britain over fishing licences to secure re-election next year. The President of France ramped up threats towards Brexit Britain in recent days, warning of potential retaliation if French vessels are not granted extra fishing licences by Tuesday. The BBC Political Editor noted France’s conduct had “raised eyebrows” across the British political sphere as she assessed the potential link between the ongoing row and Mr Macron’s re-election aspirations.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of the G20 in Rome, Ms Kuenssberg said: “President Macron is obviously very cross about this.

|He’s said some pretty disobliging things to a newspaper about the Prime Minister and saying Britain’s credibility is on the line.

“On the UK’s side, there are a couple of things worth saying. First of all, I think Boris Johnson is being really quite careful not to get drawn into a punch-up between him and Emmanuel Macron.

|He told us on the plane that none of the issues at the moment were anything like as important as the ties that bind the two countries together.”

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She continued: “And he said this issue’s got to be sorted out but he doesn’t see it as something that is really going to create massive dis-harmony.

“The other thing on the UK’s side is that it rather raises eyebrows behind the scenes, thinking that some of this rabble-rousing is rather a lot to do with the French election, which isn’t that far away.

“When in history hasn’t the French President done badly or not profited by having a bit of an argy-bargy with the British Prime Minister?

“That said, for those affected by this row, people who are trying to fish in the Channel on either side, it is obviously an important issue that needs to be sorted out.”

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Mr Macron is facing a tough path back to the Élysée amid repeated indications of discontent from the French public over his proposed reforms and his response to the Covid pandemic.

His tenure had already been marred earlier on by the Gilets Jaunes, a populist grassroots organisation demanding economic justice as well as institutional political reform.

Before jetting off to Rome to meet other G20 leaders, the French President delivered a further blow to the Anglo-French alliance when he warned Britain’s “credibility” is on the line over the licence row.

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Speaking to FT, Mr Macron said: “Make no mistake, it is not just for the Europeans but all of their partners.

“Because when you spend years negotiating a treaty and then a few months later you do the opposite of what was decided on the aspects that suit you the least, it is not a big sign of your credibility.”

The French leader also dismissed criticism over his conduct with Brexit Britain, insisting he had “never created pointless political controversy.”

He said there had been “no provocation, no tension” over fishing rights, but added, “we need to respect each other and respect the word that has been given”.

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