Brexit: French fisherman reveals plans for 'retaliation'
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A bitter war of words erupted last month after the UK Government rubber-stamped just 12 of the 47 applications it had received from small boats in France to fish in British waters. That anger intensified days later when the Jersey Government rejected 75 of the 170 license applications it had received from French boats France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune warned EU member states were preparing to apply pressure on the UK to abide by the terms of the Brexit deal, suggesting electricity supplies could be heavily impacted.
On Monday, Mr Macron’s maritime minister Annick Girardin issued Britain and Jersey with a two-week deadline to give French fishermen greater access to UK waters.
The French President has reportedly told his Government to draw up plans for reprisals against Britain in four areas, including cutting energy supplies to the UK and Jersey or severing Anglo-French ties in defence and security.
Now leading French political commentator has warned that despite five years since the historic referendum, Mr Macron still takes Brexit “personally” but is becoming increasingly “isolated” over his aggressive stance towards fishing access in UK waters.
Anne-Élisabeth Moutet wrote in The Daily Telegraph: “Even in Brussels, he is increasingly isolated.
“Macron is still, surprisingly, taking Brexit personally after five years, probably because he has consistently staked a good deal of his political capital on Europe.
“He has sought to play tough with the British on fishing and had hoped the EU would play along.
“But his minister for the sea, Annick Girardin, had her first sharply worded French ultimatum on fishing licences softened in Brussels before 11 coastal EU members agreed to sign a common document to try to find a solution to the fish wars in the Channel 10 days ago.
“Yet yesterday morning there was more talk of a new two-week ‘ultimatum’ to the Jersey fishing regulators.”
She claimed this new form of attack has not gone down well from within the EU with Mr Macron now increasingly looking like the “rash subaltern” to them.
The political expert argued the EU’s main objective is solving the Northern Ireland Protocol dispute with the UK, adding the “voice of reason doesn’t seem to be heard in Paris”.
Ms Moutet continued: “Macron increasingly appears to the dour commissioners and their careful Brexit policy advisers as the rash subaltern, always ready to push matters to the coup d’eclat.
“The EU don’t believe in the Count Schlieffen doctrine of being able to wage a war on two fronts.
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“Their primary concern is the Northern Ireland Protocol, the peril of seeing a resurgence of the Troubles, and the serious potential damage to Ireland, a fellow EU nation, if it falls apart.
“Their position is that a handful of licences for an industry that represents only 0.06 per cent of France’s economy and 0.1 per cent of the UK’s is not the hill anyone should die on, and France is making an inordinately loud fuss.
“This voice of reason doesn’t seem to be heard in Paris.”
The political expert concluded with a huge warning over any ambitions the French President may have of becoming the “de facto leader of the EU”.
This comes after Angela Merkel – widely regarded as the leading voice among EU member states – stepped down as German Chancellor last month.
She said: “The result is that Macron’s long-time dream of becoming Angela Merkel’s anointed successor as the de facto leader of the EU is fast vanishing.”
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