'Talks Need to Continue': Macron Backslides on His Vow to Sanction UK Over Paris-London Fishing Row

© CHRISTOPHER FURLONGBritain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson greets French President Emmanuel Macron as he arrives to attend the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland on November 1, 2021. - COP26, running from October 31 to November 12 in Glasgow will be the biggest climate conference since the 2015 Paris summit and is seen as crucial in setting worldwide emission targets to slow global warming, as well as firming up other key commitments. (Photo by Christopher Furlong / POOL / AFP)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson greets French President Emmanuel Macron as he arrives to attend the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland on November 1, 2021. - COP26, running from October 31 to November 12 in Glasgow will be the biggest climate conference since the 2015 Paris summit and is seen as crucial in setting worldwide emission targets to slow global warming, as well as firming up other key commitments. (Photo by Christopher Furlong / POOL / AFP) - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.11.2021
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Late last week, France threatened to slap sanctions on the UK over London's alleged refusal to issue enough fishing licenses for French fishermen to access British waters under the Brexit trade deal.
French President Emmanuel Macron has called for a continuation of the nations' talks over a bilateral fishing row, making it clear that he will not introduce the retaliatory steps against the UK that he pledged to impose just hours ago.

"Since this afternoon, discussions have resumed on the basis of a proposal I made to Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The talks need to continue. My understanding is that the British were going to come back to us tomorrow with other proposals. All that will be worked on. We'll see where we are tomorrow at the end of the day, to see if things have really changed", Macron reportedly told journalists at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

The French president earlier said that "the ball is in Britain's court" and that "if the British make no movement, the measures of 2 November will have to be put in place", in an apparent nod to sanctions Paris threatened to impose on London last week over the two's fishing spat.
A UK government spokesperson responded by saying in a statement that London welcomes the French government's latest announcement that "they will not go ahead with implementing their proposed measures as planned tomorrow".

"The UK has set out its position clearly on these measures in recent days. As we have said consistently, we are ready to continue intensive discussions on fisheries, including considering any new evidence to support the remaining license applications", the statement noted.

The spokesperson added that the British government hails "France's acknowledgement that in-depth discussions are needed to resolve the range of difficulties in the UK/EU relationship".
A French fishing boat, one of several, takes part in a protest in front of the port of Saint Helier off the British island of Jersey to draw attention to what they see as unfair restrictions on their ability to fish in UK waters after Brexit, on May 6, 2021. - - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.10.2021
'Two Can Play At That Game': UK Promises Retaliation if France Escalates Post-Brexit Fishing Row
According to the statement, UK Cabinet Office Minister David Frost has accepted an invitation by France's secretary of state for European Affairs to discuss the fisheries dispute between the two countries.
The statement came after UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss warned on Monday that France has 48 hours to settle its dispute over new fishing licenses in UK waters before London triggers the legal mechanism set out in the post-Brexit trade agreement.

"This issue needs to be resolved in the next 48 hours", Truss told Sky News, adding that "the French have behaved unfairly" which entitles London to take actions against them and seek some compensatory measures.

She spoke after Paris promised last week to impose sanctions against Britain on 2 November over London's alleged refusal to issue enough fishing licenses for French fishermen to access British waters under the Brexit deal.
The row escalated after France's Maritime Ministry said last Thursday that it had given verbal warnings to two British boats that were fishing in the waters off the French port of Le Havre.
According to the ministry, one of the boats was redirected to the French harbour, with the vessel's captain facing legal action and confiscation of the boat's catch.

UK-France Fishing Dispute

Earlier this month, French Prime Minister Jean Castex called on the European Commission to strictly oversee compliance with the obligations undertaken by the UK on the issue of granting fishing licenses, adding that Paris does not rule out a revision of bilateral cooperation with London in various areas in case of non-compliance with the agreements.
Fishing Boat - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.10.2021
EU Sides With France on Fishing Licences Row, Urges UK to ‘Come to Reason’ as Tensions Simmer
In late September, the British Ministry of the Environment reported that 1,700 vessels from the EU received licenses to fish in the UK's waters, of which 117 were issued to vessels from the bloc for fishing in a zone of 6-12 nautical miles.
At the same time, the ministry granted only 12 licenses to French fishermen, having considered 47 applications. British officials called the decision "reasonable" and well within London's obligations under the Brexit agreement with the EU.
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