Macron says ‘the ball is in Britain’s court’
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The French President warned that Paris could block British boats from landing their catches in French ports and tighten customs checks in protest at what they claim is a refusal by the UK authorities to grant licences to French boats.
The UK has granted post-Brexit licences to 98 percent of EU vessels that have requested permission to operate in British waters.
But the dispute centres on access for small boats of under 12 metres wishing to fish in the UK six-to-12 nautical mile zone.
The government in Paris was angry that the UK originally granted only 12 licences out of 47 applications for smaller vessels, a figure that has now risen to 18.
Only boats that can demonstrate they have fished in UK waters for one day in each of the years between 2012 and 2016 qualify for a licence.
Reacting to the ongoing row, Durk van Tuinen of the Dutch Fishermen’s Union (Nederlandse Vissersbond) said he did not believe it was necessary for his country’s government to act as the French against the UK.
Asked whether Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte should also embark in a diplomatic row with Britain over post-Brexit fisheries, Mr van Tuinen told Express.co.uk: “It’s not necessary at this point that the Dutch government takes action against the UK.
“I don’t see why it would be necessary.
“We now have the TCA and an arrangement for five years and in that arrangement is included a deal on how to fish in English waters.
“There are some technical measures, some new rules for English waters, so sometimes it’s more difficult, but we can work with it.
“So it is not necessary to react like the French are doing right now.”
France suspended the threats at the 11th hour as negotiations continued.
the deadline for action has now been extended to Thursday.
An official with the French presidency told the news agency on Tuesday that discussions “are advancing” and that France hopes to “move forward” from the fishing dispute to focus on bigger issues such as climate change.
“Neither us nor the British want this to go badly,” said the official, who AP was not authorised to name publicly.
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Environment Secretary George Eustice said a meeting between Brexit minister Lord Frost and France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune in Paris on Thursday would be “very important”, as further talks with the EU are also scheduled.
He told Sky News: “We welcome the fact France has stepped back from the threats it was making last Wednesday.
“We’ve always said we want to de-escalate this and always said we have an ever-open door to discuss any further evidence France or the EU might have on any additional vessels they’d like to have licensed.
“France has clearly taken a decision not to implement some of the decisions they threatened last Wednesday, we very much welcome that, but I think there’s going to be a very important meeting on Thursday between Lord Frost and his opposite number, not just on fisheries but a wider range of issues as well.”
The European Union said that talks convened with officials from France, the UK, Jersey and Guernsey would continued on Tuesday.
On Monday night, just hours ahead of the deadline set by Paris, the French president was reported to have told journalists at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow: “Since this afternoon, 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.
“My wish is that we can find a way out on all these issues.”
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