Boris Johnson mocks Barnier for French border U-turn
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Michel Barnier, 70, last night accused Brexit Britain of “taking French fishermen hostage”. The EU’s former chief Brexit negotiator agreed with his UK counterpart Lord Frost the complete terms of Britain’s departure from the Brussels bloc on Christmas Eve last year.
But Barnier has now urged the UK’s Brexit Minister to stick to what was promised in the UK-EU future relationship deal.
Monsieur Barnier, who recently launched his bid to succeed Emmanuel Macron as French President, said: “Taking hostage the fishing rights of a few small boats in the Channel will not solve Britain’s Brexit problems.”
He added: “The Johnson Government must respect its signature and international responsibilities, both in spirit and letter.”
Mr Barnier’s bid for the presidency has got off to a sluggish start.
In the most recent Elabe opinion poll, the centre-right politician finds himself on just 5 percent of the vote – meaning he lags behind Emmanuel Macron, Marine Le Pen, Eric Zemmour, Xavier Bertrand, Valérie Pécresse and Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
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Over the last few months, Anglo-French tensions seem to have reached post-Brexit lows.
Paris officials were particularly frustrated after Australia opted to snub a multi-billion-pound submarine deal to enter into the AUKUS alliance with Britain and the United States.
It has also been reported President Macron worked with officials in Brussels to divert almost five million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine away from the UK to France.
Last month, the UK rejected all but 12 out of 47 applications from French fishermen to venture into British waters.
To rub salt into French wounds, the Channel Island of Jersey refused an additional 75 bids made by French vessels.
Mr Barnier’s comments come shortly after France suffered humiliation in Brussels over the fishing war against Brexit Britain.
Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands snubbed Macron and his fisheries minister Annick Girardin by watering down their proposals to get tête-à-tête with the UK over fishing.
Despite Brussels’ former Brexit negotiator suggesting the UK was not adhering to what it signed up to, the Deputy Prime Minister said during the Tory Party conference that France needs to accept the reality of the UK’s departure from the continental bloc.
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Dominic Raab said: “What the French need to adjust to is the new reality we have left the EU.”
When Britain finally severed ties with the European Union, after 48-years of being a member state, on January 1, the bloc agreed to reduce the number of boats entering the UK’s independent coastal waters by 25 percent by 2026.
Alongside £100million investment into the UK’s fishing industry, Boris’ Brexit deal is estimated to bring in an extra £145million per year once the quota transfer is complete.
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