Macron has the most to lose from his Brexit ‘vendetta’ – Cambridge prof picks apart stance

Lord Frost criticised over post-Brexit negotiations by Habib

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Britain and France have squabbled for decades over access to the rich fishing grounds around their Channel coasts. Under new rules enforced after Brexit, French fishermen must apply for a permit to enjoy unfettered access to UK waters.

Britain has so far approved more than 90 percent of fishing licences France has applied for.

But France has claimed UK officials are still withholding another 73 permits.

The UK Government issued 23 additional licences, but France has remained furious at the actions of the British.

Mr Macron’s government has threatened to take retaliatory measures against Britain if more licences are not granted.

They accused the Government of failing to honour the terms of the EU trade deal.

Now, in his latest column in the Spectator, Professor John Keiger, warned Mr Macron has the most to lose if he continues with his anti-Brexit stance.

The former professor at the University of Cambridge said: “The one European power with the most to lose from Britain turning its gaze from the European continent is France.

“Irony indeed, given Emmanuel Macron’s five-year anti-Brexit vendetta, further encouraging London’s pivot overseas.

“Post-Brexit France is now unable, when French interests so demand, to side with Britain against Germany to get her way.

“She is more alone in managing a gently rising Germany than for years.”

Professor Keiger went on to warn the French President that the incoming German administration is “fast learning the tactless pressure” associated with Mr Macron.

Under the terms of the post-Brexit trade agreement signed last December, fishing boats with historic access to Britain’s waters must be given permits to allow them to continue to do so.

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They must prove they accessed the waters at least one day a year between 2013 and 2016.

On December 9, Downing Street refused to back down in the face of fresh French threats of EU-wide retaliation if more licences were not granted.

On Christmas Eve, the French Europe minister, Clement Beaune, said will be a high-profile meeting with European Union representatives on January 4 and litigation at a special tribunal put in place by the Brexit accords will start in “the very first days of January”.

France had initially warned it would sue Britain within a matter of days over the long-running row over post-Brexit fishing licences.

Mr Beaune – one of French President Emmanuel Macron’s closest aides – had urged the EU to begin legal action after accusing the UK of refusing to grant enough fishing boat access.

He said: “We are going to ask the European Commission to initiate a legal procedure for the remaining licences that we feel that we are entitled to.”

A European Commission spokesman had said they would “examine together with the French authorities the legal circumstances around every requested licence which has not been granted”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under fire for “betraying” the fishing industry to get Brexit done.

Former MEP June Mummery told Express.co.uk: “I can’t tell you how betrayed I feel by Boris.

“He has betrayed the fishing industry and coastal communities.

“But the biggest betrayal is our ocean and Mother Nature. He has betrayed them as well.

“Our ocean is in crisis. It is betrayal.”

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