Not over yet! Macron’s new ticking time bomb in fishing row – fresh Brexit talks underway

France fishing row about 'poll pressure' says expert

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Last night the French President backed down on his threats to impose extra measures on the UK unless more vessels were granted access to British waters. But his words only amounted to a temporary truce, with fears tensions could explode again as soon as Thursday.

France has threatened to increase border and sanitary checks on goods from Britain and ban UK vessels from some French ports.

Lord Frost is due to head to Paris on November 4 to hold talks with France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune in a bid to find a solution to the frictions in the post-fishing row.

Environment Secretary George Eustice this morning described Thursday’s meeting as “very important”.

“We’ve always said we want to de-escalate this,” he added.

Mr Macron has warned a he is still ready to carry through his ultimatum if Boris Johnson does not meet his demands by his new deadline.

Britain has continued to insist it will take retaliatory action to any French measures.

Despite the temporary truce, explosive rhetoric is likely to ramp up again in the coming days.

Mr Macron said last night: “Discussions have resumed on the basis of a proposal I made to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“The talks need to continue.

“My understanding is that the British were going to come back to us tomorrow with other proposals.

“All that will be worked on.

“We’ll see where we are tomorrow at the end of the day, to see if things have really changed.”

Fishing crews from both the UK and France are now holding their breaths for a breakthrough today or tomorrow to put a more permanent end to the row that has boiled over in recent days.

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Yesterday afternoon, marine traffic tracking data indicated vessels from both France and Britain were staying out of each other’s waters in anticipation of sanctions being introduced.

While Mr Macron has suspended sanctions to allow talks to continue on fishing licences, the UK insists no negotiations are taking place.

British officials say they are happy to continue to assess fishing licence applications as outlined under the terms of the EU trade deal but that they will not grant access to UK waters to those who do not meet the specified criteria.

The trade agreement means vessels with historic access to waters must be granted licences if they can prove their links to the area.

The UK says talks with the EU and France on licences will focus on helping fisheries provide evidence of their previous access to waters.

“We welcome the French Government’s announcement that they will not go ahead with implementing their proposed measures as planned,” a UK Government spokesman said last night.

“As we have said consistently, we are ready to continue intensive discussions on fisheries, including considering any new evidence to support the remaining license applications.

“We welcome France’s acknowledgement that in-depth discussions are needed to resolve the range of difficulties in the UK/EU relationship.”

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