Sunday, 28 Nov 2021

Beaune twists the knife AGAIN –taunts UK on fishing row after another Frost showdown TODAY

George Eustice slams Beaune's 'inflammatory' language

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Mr Beaune, a close ally of French President Emmanuel Macron, spoke with Brexit minister Lord David Frost this morning. And he wasted little time announcing the fact on social media afterwards.

He posted: “This morning I spoke again with @DavidGHFrost.

“France remains open to dialogue, but a rapid solution must be found for our fishermen, in full respect of our agreements.”

By contrast, Lord Frost has so far remained silent on Twitter about the discussions.

Mr Macron has threatened punitive sanctions over what he regards as a refusal to issue licences to its trawlers to operate in UK waters.

Speaking after a meeting between the pair on Thursday, Downing Street insisted it was confident France will not resume its threats to increase checks or block British boats from French ports in the “coming days” – while acknowledging no breakthroughs had been achieved.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the French government had assured it will not immediately restore the threats as talks continue.

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He said: “They’ve made it clear to us they’re not planning to introduce them in the short-term. Both sides are keen to have further discussions.”

At the time, Mr Beaune said he had been happy to meet Lord Frost to “relaunch the necessary dialogue and ensure the implementation of our agreements”.

The UK Government has insisted the overwhelming majority of applications for licences have been granted.

French President Emmanuel Macron delayed the imposition of sanctions pending more talks between the UK, France and the European Commission take place.

Paris has insisted the measures – which could include a ban on British trawlers landing their catches in French ports and tighter customs checks to hamper cross-Channel trade – remain “on the table” if a deal cannot be reached.

French Government spokesman Gabriel Attal has underlined the threat of sanctions remains: “As you know, the control measures that we announced are still suspended.

“But all options are on the table, and we may need to implement those measures if we do not reach an agreement.”

Under the Brexit deal, EU boats which can show they have fished in British waters in at least four of the years from 2012 to 2016 are eligible for a licence.

In total, 1,831 applications for licences have been received, with 1,793 issued.

The main source of contention has been for smaller boats, the under 12-metre category fishing between six and 12 nautical miles of the coast, where 50 applications have been received – all from French vessels – but just 19 have been issued.

On Wednesday, a British trawler that was impounded by France amid the dispute over post-Brexit fishing rights has arrived in the UK after being released by French authorities.

The Scottish-registered scallop dredger Cornelis Gert Jan left Le Havre having been held there for a week after France accused it of fishing in its waters without a proper licence.

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