Amelie de Montchalin told a conference in London on Friday “these fishes are fished by everybody and they will move,” causing upset among Brexit voters who have long campaigned for foreign boats to be kicked out after the transition period has ended. Express.co.uk readers were quick to react to the comments made by Emmanuel Macron’s cabinet member on British soil.
Many said French fishermen should wait for the fish to come into their seas before being allowed to scoop them up.
One man said: “Our fishing waters are ours, the fish in our waters are ours.
“Any fish in the EU waters are the EU’s – these facts are simple!”
Another person called on the French to wake up to the “tough” fact that if the fish are in foreign waters they are not fair game.
“Want to buy some fish? We can sell you some!” he added.
And a third reader fumed: “Maybe if they didn’t laugh in our fishermen’s faces we would have been a little sympathetic.”
Many compared fish to other commodities such as wine and cars, saying UK citizens do not have rights to take these from other countries without paying.
“I should go over to Renault dealership tomorrow and liberate a car for myself,” said one disgruntled reader.
“After all, cars are for everybody according to him.”
Another added: “Do French grapes belong to everyone?”
And yet another wrote: “Okay, the French vineyards are everybody’s.”
One voters said President Macron should accept that British seas are not free for all zones.
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“Hands off our fish and our fishing industry!” they said.
Some readers said the only way foreign fishermen should be able to get their hands on fish from UK waters is if they pay “a fair price”.
The storm of criticism kicked off after Ms de Montchalin visited the UK on Friday ahead of trade talks between both sides on Monday.
Speaking at Chatham House in the capital, she said Brussels will not be pressurised by “artificial deadlines” in the post-Brexit trade talks between the bloc and the UK.
Her warning comes as the meetings are set to kick-off in the Belgian capital on Monday.
Ms de Montchalin said the EU would not sign “any kind of a deal” at the end of the transition period in December because substance is more important than deadlines.
She was appointed as European affairs minister by President Macron last year.
“We cannot let our level of ambition be affected by what I would call artificial deadlines,” she said.
“If the UK decides to shorten the negotiating period, it will be the UK’s responsibility.
“It will not be our choice on the European side, and that choice will have consequences in
terms of the breadth and depth of the relationship we can build.”
After the talks begin on Monday, discussions on fisheries, the level playing field, trade in goods and services, energy, law enforcement and judicial cooperation will be on the agenda for Tuesday and Wednesday.
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