French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a bilateral meeting of about 30 minutes on Sunday on the sidelines of the G-20 summit amid the conflict over fishing that clouds relations between their respective countries . The crisis has been triggered by London’s reluctance to grant French vessels fishing licenses in its waters, which according to Paris violates London’s commitments to the Brexit pact. The meeting revealed the ocean that still seems to separate both views of the problem: instead of lowering the tension, the meeting gave continuity to the crisis.
At the meeting, the French leader demanded that London respect international rules. Paris pointed out that “the objective of both was to reduce” the tension and the conflict of the last days and that France now expected “seriousness” and “respect”. Paris insisted that it is “necessary” that London “respect the commitments” assumed with the European Union (EU) so that “practical and operational measures are taken as soon as possible to avoid an increase in tension.” But overall, the Elysee was conciliatory and pointed out that there was a desire for a “de-escalation”. “The two leaders agreed to hold discussions in the next few hours and days on fishing licenses,” he said in a statement.
British sources, however, gave a different version of the meeting, with a combative tone, pointing out that London hopes that Paris will take the first step of a de-escalation and withdraw the French response measures that they described as “threats.” Downing Street showed its “deep concern at the rhetoric emanating from the French Government in recent days.”
The discussion occurred on the horn that problems can grow. That is, less than 48 hours after the retaliatory measures announced by the French Government against the British fishing sector come into force on November 2 after not receiving all the fishing licenses in British waters that Paris claims under the Brexit deal. The Macron Executive has warned that if there is no solution, it could prohibit British fishing boats from unloading their catches in French ports.
The Government of France, in fact, maintains that almost half of the license applications submitted by French fishermen have not yet been accepted. Paris also plans to respond to the UK’s attitude by imposing more rigid controls on bilateral trade at a time when the UK market is experiencing supply difficulties.
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