© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Setting Secretary George Eustice walks exterior the Science Museum, following a cupboard assembly in London, Britain, October 19, 2021. REUTERS/Toby Melville
By Costas Pitas and Sarah Meyssonnier
LONDON/LE HAVRE, France (Reuters) -British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet French President Emmanuel Macron this weekend amid a row over post-Brexit fishing rights during which France has seized a British boat and London has threatened to board French trawlers.
The flare-up is a part of a wider dispute over post-Brexit commerce preparations between Britain and the European Union that might severely disrupt cross-Channel commerce and additional undermine British-French relations if it spins uncontrolled.
Johnson’s spokesperson mentioned the prime minister and Macron had been anticipated to fulfill on the margins of the G20 summit of the world’s 20 greatest economies on Rome on Saturday and Sunday.
“He’ll focus on a variety of points,” he added, with out giving particulars.
France remained an in depth and robust ally of Britain, he added. France didn’t instantly touch upon his remarks.
France mentioned this week it might impose sanctions on Britain if London doesn’t enable extra French trawlers to fish in UK waters, and it detained a British scallop dredger.
French Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie mentioned earlier on Friday there had been no progress in talks on granting extra licences for French vessels to fish in UK waters, and mentioned it was proper for France to arrange sanctions towards Britain.
Going through the specter of further customs checks on British items and probably larger vitality tariffs from France if talks fail, British Setting Secretary George Eustice mentioned: “Two can play at that recreation.”
“Clearly it is all the time open to us to all the time improve the enforcement that we do on French vessels, to board extra of them if that is what they’re doing to our vessels,” he informed BBC tv.
THREATS AND COUNTER-THREATS
The Cornelis Gert Jan scallop dredger was escorted to the northern French port of Le Havre in a single day on Wednesday after its crew didn’t show it was allowed to fish in French territorial waters, French officers mentioned.
British officers mentioned it had the proper documentation. The native prosecutor’s workplace mentioned the vessel’s skipper will likely be referred to as to seem earlier than a courtroom in Le Havre in August, 2022.
Britain’s departure from the EU final yr deepened strains in its relations with France, and negotiations on fishing rights proved lengthy and troublesome even earlier than it left the bloc.
France says Britain has refused to grant its fishermen the total variety of licences to function in British waters that France says is warranted. Britain says it’s issuing licences to vessels that meet its standards.
France has threatened to ban British fishing boats from unloading in French ports, perform extra licence checks on British vessels, tighten controls of vehicles, reinforce customs and hygiene controls and lift energy tariffs.
France’s ambassador to London has been summoned to elucidate his nation’s actions.
Britain’s Brexit minister, David Frost, was because of maintain talks in London on Friday with Maros Sefcovic, a vice-president of the EU’s govt physique.
Some British officers painting France’s defence of its fishermen as an try by Macron to point out he’s taking care of their pursuits earlier than an election in April during which he’s anticipated to hunt a brand new time period.
Johnson can even sick afford to look weak on fishing rights after main the marketing campaign to go away the EU and promising that leaving the EU was in voters’ pursuits.
Fishing makes a small contribution to the French and British economies however is a lifeline for some coastal communities.