Liz Truss on possible French motives for fishing row

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Britain and France have been embroiled in a bitter post-Brexit row over fishing licences. In a Twitter thread, the BBC’s Europe correspondent said that while there was some “irritation” from other EU member states at Mr Macron for using the dispute to “flash his nationalist credentials” ahead of the upcoming French presidential election, there is “sympathy” for his country’s position.

Highlighting tensions between the UK and the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol, Ms Adler said some member states “applaud” France for standing firm in the fishing row.

She quoted a diplomat from a key EU country as saying: “We keep offering the UK practical solutions after Brexit, like over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

“So It’s kind of good that the French at least are seen to stand up to the UK when it breaks its word.”

Ms Adler continued: “The diplomat went on to say the French were talking of trialling retaliatory measures the EU would consider using in case the UK suspends significant parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol which Brexit Minister Lord Frost has kept a live possibility for months.

“Lord Frost insists he’d still prefer a joint EU-UK solution over the Protocol. As for fishing, the UK says it would be France breaking the post Brexit trade deal if it introduces retaliatory measures over licenses- most of which the gov says it has awarded French fishermen.”

Ms Adler added that Tuesday will be a big day after Mr Macron set a 24-hour deadline for Britain to make a “significant move” to resolve the fishing row.

She said that if the dispute between the UK and France blows up, it is likely to have consequences on the Protocol.

The BBC’s Europe correspondent said: “Neither France, nor the UK will want to lose face over the fishing row but there is a lot at stake here.

“If it escalates further the row will likely have ramifications for wider EU-UK relations, possibly trade relations and the Protocol.”

Ms Adler’s tweets come amid mounting tensions between the UK and France over fishing.

Over the weekend, a letter emerged from French prime minister Jean Castex to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, in which he said the UK should be shown “it causes more damage to leave the EU than to stay in”.

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Meanwhile, Mr Macron warned Paris would introduce more stringent port and border checks from Tuesday unless Britain makes a “significant move” to resolve Channel fishing tensions.

In a post-G20 press briefing, the French president told reporters: “The ball is now in their court.

“If the British don’t do any significant move, measures starting from November 2 will need to be implemented.

“I would deplore it.

“But what we cannot do is not respond and not defend our fishermen.”

Boris Johnson has warned France that he considers its stance against the UK to be in contravention to both the spirit and the letter of the Brexit trade deal.

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