PARIS (NWN) – French President Emmanuel Macron says France’s dispute with Britain over fishing rights is a test of Britain’s credibility in the post-Brexit world.
France is unhappy with the restrictions on fishing permits in British waters and says they are contrary to the agreement signed by the UK on leaving the European Union. France has threatened to block British boats and tighten checks on British ships from Tuesday. The UK says some French courts need more documents.
Ahead of meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson this weekend, Macron defended France’s position in an interview with the Financial Times and argued that the fisheries dispute could damage Britain’s worldwide reputation.
“Make no mistake, this applies not only to Europeans, but also to all their partners. Because when you spend years negotiating a treaty, and then a few months later, you do the opposite of what was agreed on the aspects that suit you the least, that is not a big sign of your credibility, ”Macron said.
Macron said he is confident the UK has “good will” to resolve the dispute. “We must respect each other and respect the given word,” he said, according to the FT.
Johnson tried to calm the storm on Friday when he flew to Rome for the G-20 summit, where he and Macron are due to meet on Sunday.
“France is one of our best, oldest and closest allies, friends and partners,” he told reporters traveling to the summit. “The bonds that bind us, that bind us together, are much stronger than the turbulence that currently exists in relationships.”
But Johnson also reaffirmed the UK’s willingness to respond to any violations of the divorce agreement with the 27 EU countries.
France also suggested that it could restrict energy supplies to the Channel Islands – dependent territories of the British Crown, which are located off the coast of France and heavily dependent on French electricity.
Since the UK left the EU’s economic orbit in January, relations between London and Paris have escalated more and more as countries on both sides of the English Channel choose a path after leaving the EU.