Don't threaten us! Furious Boris Johnson lashes out at France over fishing blackmail


France has warned it will block an EU financial services deal with the UK unless Boris Johnson grants European fisheries more access to British waters. Emmanuel Macron’s government has accused the UK of deliberately failing to issue licences to French fisheries.

This afternoon, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman condemned the threats and said Britain was taking a “consistent evidence-based approach” to licences, in line with the terms of the trade deal.

He said: “We’re taking a consistent, evidence-based approach to licensing EU vessels using information supplied by the European Commission.

“This is another example of the EU issuing threats at any sign of difficulties instead of using the mechanisms of our new treaty to solve problems.

“We have always been clear that an agreement on financial services is in the best interest of both sides.”

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Under the pact brokered on Christmas Eve last year, EU fisheries will have continued access to UK waters until at least 2026.

The size of the quota of fish they can catch will reduce year by year and vessels will only be allowed access to the waters if they have a licence issued by the British Government.

Frustrated at the slow pace at which licences were being issued, a source close to the French government yesterday threatened to block a deal on financial services in retaliation.

“We’ve made a link between the two,” they said.

Britain’s huge financial services sector was largely cut off from the EU following the end of the EU transition period on December 21 last year.

Britain and the EU have agreed in principle on a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between financial regulators, but it has yet to be formally ratified by the bloc’s 27 member countries, including France.

READ MORE: British expats challenge EU states over ‘illegal’ removal of rights

She said: “I am sorry it has come to this but we will do so if we have to.”

French fisheries protested outside Jersey’s main port last Thursday, threatening to block access and cutting off ships sending supplies island.

Mr Johnson deployed two Royal Navy boats to patrol the area “as a precaution”.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also held conversations with his opposite number in France to condemn the threats.



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