France fishing row: Expert calls on EU to 'sort' issue
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On Thursday, France detained a British boat off of Normandy, and issued a fine to a second, over fishing licences. After France had earlier threatened to hit the UK with blockades and other restrictions, Mr Macron admitted “the discussion will continue”.
Clement Beaune, France’s Minister for European Affairs, attempted to defend the climbdown from Mr Macron.
He said on Monday: “Discussions on the granting of fishing licenses continued today between the European Commission, France and the United Kingdom.
“We have received the first signals from the British authorities to speed up the exchanges; a response to the latest proposals from the French authorities is expected by Wednesday.
“I also spoke with David Frost, UK Minister for EU Relations. I invited Lord Frost to Paris on Thursday for an in-depth discussion of the difficulties in implementing the agreements binding the European Union and the United Kingdom.
“In order to allow the dialogue thus opened to continue, the measures announced and prepared by France will not be applied before this meeting and the examination of the new British responses relating to fishing licenses.”
In a blunt two-sentence come back, Lord Frost said he awaits Thursday’s meeting between France and the UK.
He said: “We have set out our response to the statement from Clement Beaune this evening.
“I look forward to our talks in Paris on Thursday.”
The UK had already responded to the news France would not be implementing measures restricting British access to French waters.
A UK Government spokesperson said: “As we have said consistently, we are ready to continue intensive discussions on fisheries, including considering any new evidence to support the remaining licence applications.
“We welcome France’s acknowledgement that in-depth discussions are needed to resolve the range of difficulties in the UK/EU relationship.
“Lord Frost has accepted Clement Beaune’s invitation and looks forward to the discussions in Paris on Thursday.”
Boris Johnson has denied the UK had offered concessions to France in the Brexit fishing row.
When asked whether the UK had offered Paris more generous terms on fishing licences in a bid to defuse tensions, the Prime Minister said “no”.
Mr Johnson also said the fishing row was “really vanishingly unimportant” in comparison to Cop26.
He added: “We are working very, very closely with our French friends and partners on the things that matter most to the people of the world – and that is tackling climate change, reducing CO2.”
On Wednesday, UK and EU officials will continue discussions over rejected fishing licences for European vessels in British waters.
France is demanding answers on when 14 French vessels would be granted permits to fish in British waters
A European Commission spokesman told the Telegraph: “It’s positive and reassuring to see contacts aiming at a positive solution.”
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