Downright aggressive Boris accused of stoking nationalism to hide his own setbacks

Fishing: French behaving in 'appalling manner' says Gardiner

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For decades Britain and France have squabbled over access to the rich fishing grounds around their Channel coasts. In September, Paris accused London of failing to allocate enough post-Brexit licences to French boats to fish in the zone 6.12 nautical miles from UK shores.

This latest row came after the UK approved just 12 permits out of 47 applications for small French fishing boats.

Jersey has rejected at least 55 applicants from French fishermen of which “five or six are replacement boats.

Now, French commentator Jean-Francis Pecresse has launched a scathing attack on the Prime Minister and accused him of “stoking nationalism”.

In his latest article in Les Echoes, Mr Pecresse wrote: “Of course, we should not underestimate the deterioration of relations between our two countries, after the United Kingdom has multiplied unfriendly, even downright aggressive gestures against France.

“It is unprecedented in recent times.

“With all the perfidy of which she is capable, Albion has shown the little regard she made of her former European partner by working to cancel the amazing French contract for Australian submarines.”

He continued: “A complex and uncomfortable framework has been painstakingly set for the new relationship between the UK and mainland Europe.

“But he has the merit of existing and cannot be held hostage to the foucades of Boris Johnson stoking nationalist sentiment across the Channel to make people forget his own setbacks.”

Mr Pecresse accused the UK of always being the “troublemakers” in Europe.

He went on to urge France to “resist” Mr Johnson as it would be in the best interest of France and the rest of Europe.

He said: “Resisting Boris Johnson today is a requirement for the interests of France, but also for those of Europe.

“The Commission would be well advised to line up unambiguously behind Paris, otherwise the next step will be the unilateral exit from the Northern Irish protocol, which imposes essential customs and health controls in the Irish Sea. In other words, the keystone of Brexit.”

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On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron backtracked on his midnight deadline to resolve the ongoing row with Britain over fishing rights

Mr Macron climbed down on his threat just hours after saying he was ready to press ahead with retaliatory measures against Britain, suggesting he wanted to give negotiators time to find a solution.

Mr Macron told reporters the French plan was on hold pending the outcome of the renewed talks.

He told reporters: “Since this afternoon, discussions have resumed on the basis of a proposal I made to Prime Minister (Boris) Johnson.

“The talks need to continue.”

He added: “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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