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Boris Johnson has been accused of ‘dragging out’ a post-Brexit fishing row with France to divert attention from ‘domestic problems’.

French president Emmanuel Macron told aides that the Prime Minister is trying to ‘entrap’ the EU ‘in a Franco-British problem’.

Details of the rant emerged as further talks in Paris yesterday failed to resolve the issue, with France threatening sanctions over accusations Britain is withholding licences for French boats.

Mr Macron reportedly said: ‘I will not give an inch on fish. The UK must respect the spirit of the Brexit agreement… or sell their fish elsewhere.’

Boris Johnson has been accused of ‘dragging out’ a post-Brexit fishing row with France to divert attention from ‘domestic problems’

Boris Johnson has been accused of ‘dragging out’ a post-Brexit fishing row with France to divert attention from ‘domestic problems’

Boris Johnson has been accused of ‘dragging out’ a post-Brexit fishing row with France to divert attention from ‘domestic problems’

His comments were published in the highly-respected French satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné.

The French leader faces re-election in April and is taking a tough stance on Brexit Britain with eurosceptics Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour, a far-Right polemist, rising in the polls.

France has argued British seafood products should be hit with punitive tariffs, accusing the UK of breaching the Brexit deal.

Following a meeting between the two sides yesterday, Mr Beaune, one of the French president’s closest aides, said that ‘large gaps’ remained and that possible punishment sanctions were still ‘possible’.

He claimed that the ‘pressure’ from Paris had ‘facilitated the resumption of talks’ with Britain.

‘As long as dialogue seems possible, we are giving it a chance,’ he said. ‘We need to accelerate progress.’

But Downing Street believes it has a watertight legal case against any French measures to avert a cross-Channel trade war.

British officials are convinced there is little support across the EU for Paris to take such a step.

‘We’re glad that the French want to keep talking and haven’t yet followed through on their unlawful threat,’ a British government source said.

Lord Frost will hold talks with Brussels’ Brexit enforcer, European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic, later on today FRI on the fishing row and the Northern Ireland protocol.

French president Emmanuel Macron told aides that the Prime Minister is trying to ‘entrap’ the EU ‘in a Franco-British problem’

French president Emmanuel Macron told aides that the Prime Minister is trying to ‘entrap’ the EU ‘in a Franco-British problem’

French president Emmanuel Macron told aides that the Prime Minister is trying to ‘entrap’ the EU ‘in a Franco-British problem’

Mr Beaune warned Britain against using the dispute over trade between the British mainland and the province as ‘leverage’.

‘All Europeans are very clear. We will not do a trade-off between the protocol and fishing. It doesn’t work like that.’

But despite both sides praising the positive atmosphere of the meeting, they could not even agree on what they disagreed on.

Under the Brexit trade deal, French vessels are able to fish in the area between six and 12 miles from the UK’s shores until 2026 if they can prove they had previously been operating in those waters.

Mr Beaune said the dispute is focused on 200 licences that are still to be issued, while British officials said they fail to see eye-to-eye on 86 permits.

Details of the rant emerged as further talks in Paris yesterday failed to resolve the issue, with France threatening sanctions over accusations Britain is withholding licences for French boats

Details of the rant emerged as further talks in Paris yesterday failed to resolve the issue, with France threatening sanctions over accusations Britain is withholding licences for French boats

Details of the rant emerged as further talks in Paris yesterday failed to resolve the issue, with France threatening sanctions over accusations Britain is withholding licences for French boats

Britain is using commercially-available tracking data to assess whether French trawlers should be granted a permit.

Skippers across the Channel complain that their vessels were not fitted with such technology before Brexit, making it impossible to prove their historic links to those waters.

Further technical talks to broker a truce in the row are set to take place next week at the European Commission’s headquarters in Brussels.

The talks between Lord Frost and Mr Beaune came on the same day as British scallop trawler Cornelis-Gert Jan docked in Shoreham-by-Sea, near Brighton.

French authorities had kept the Scottish-registered vessel captive in Le Havre, Normandy, for a week despite having the correct paperwork.

It was finally freed on Wednesday evening after being wrongly accused of not having the right licence.

Source: Daily Mail

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