UK needs to ‘engage better’ with France over fishing row says MP
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France has warned it is ready to cut off the UK’s energy supply if it does not grant more fishing licences to small votes. The comments made by Europe minister Clement Beaune on Tuesday were a significant escalation in the post-Brexit row.
Lord Frost said the rhetoric coming from Paris “is not really a fair reflection of the efforts we have made”.
“For all the frustrations of the last 18 months, I can’t think that we as a country have resorted to those sorts of threats,” he said.
“We’ve not made those sort of direct threats to our neighbours.
“The vaccine export ban earlier this year is another example of where the EU resorts to these sorts of threats quite quickly – and that’s not how we should behave.
“We don’t, and I don’t see why our neighbours feel they have to.”
Unimpressed by the way Paris is behaving over the dispute, the EU appeared to side with Lord Frost.
An EU diplomat told Express.co.uk it was time to dial down the rhetoric.
They said it was important any frictions were settled via the proper procedures laid out in the trade agreement.
The source said: “We need to cool the temperature of the water.
“We need to sit down and talk amicably.
“It’s very warm water at the moment and that doesn’t help anyone.”
Another said: “We need to sort these problems out so we can then move forward and work together on the many important global issues we both face.”
Under the terms of the UK-EU trade deal a new Partnership Council was formed, with politicians from both sides sitting on the panel.
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The Partnership Council is the formal way problems in the implementation in the trade deal can be addressed.
European Commission vice president Maroš Šefčovič heads up the EU team on the council, while the UK is represented by Lord Frost.
Yesterday the Brexit minister said: “We have granted 98 percent of the licence applications from EU boats to fish in our waters according to the different criteria in the Trade and Co-operation Agreement.
“So, we do not accept that we are not abiding by that agreement.
“We have been extremely generous and the French, focusing in on a small category of boats and claiming we have behaved unreasonably, I think is not really a fair reflection of the efforts we have made.”
He added: “We agreed this deal and we are implementing in good faith, so I think it is unreasonable to suggest we are not.
“If there is a reaction from France, they will have to persuade others in the EU to go along with it, and it does need to be proportionate.”
The EU has not publicly commented on the fishing dispute.
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