French President Emmanuel Macron’s close allies are threatening a no-deal Brexit unless the UK guarantees access to its fishing waters for French fishermen as French MEPs Nathalie Loiseau and Pierre Karleskind continues to ask European Parliament associates to vote down any trade deal unless EU fishermen are given access to British waters.
In a leaked memo, that was seen by Express UK, French politicians set out plans to issue a public threat to the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson as no-deal Brexit loom.
They wrote, “As the Brexit negotiations are coming to an end, there is a special need for signals of unity coming from all EU institutions, in order to strengthen the hand of our negotiator Michel Barnier and to ensure that a partnership agreement, if reachable, does protect the interests of our fellow citizens.”
This comes as France perceived that French boats will have to deal with real hard time on fishing opportunities in Britain’s fishing waters after the end of the Brexit transition period in December.
Ms Loiseau who is a former French Europe minister and a close friend of President Macron and Mr Karleskind chairman of the European Parliament’s fisheries committee plan to publish an open letter, warning the UK negotiators to compromise over access to British waters or face a no-deal Brexit.
“These negotiations are coming to an end; the UK and EU realise that there is very little time left to find an agreement. We, as representatives of our fellow citizens, must protect their interest and this will be our sole guideline when we vote on the outcome of the negotiations,” the leaked letter says.
“We have been crystal clear so far and will continue to be: there won’t be a free trade agreement without a balanced, sustainable and long-term agreement on fisheries. There is nothing that would change our minds, let’s not reverse the logic of our negotiations.”
“A future partnership agreement makes sense only if it protects the interests of the signatories, there is no doubt that the UK will be losing some benefits by leaving the single market, but this was the choice it made. Threatening the European fisheries sector won’t make the doors of the single market open wider.
“Why should European fishermen suffer the consequences of a decision, Brexit, they were not part of? The EU negotiating stance is simple and transparent: to protect the interests of EU citizens and businesses, by no means to undermine them. The fisheries sector is no exception.”
France is leading the push to maintain the bloc’s hardline fisheries demands in the UK and EU trade negotiations. But Mr Johnson told Mr Macron during a phone call last week that he would have to accept cuts to fishing quotas as part of any Brexit deal.
“The Prime Minister then set out the latest state of play in the negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and the EU.
“He confirmed the UK’s commitment to exploring every avenue to reach an agreement. He underlined that a deal was better for both sides, but also that the UK was prepared to end the transition period on Australia-style terms if an agreement could not be found.
“The Prime Minister emphasised that progress must be made in the coming days to bridge the significant gaps, notably in the areas of fisheries and the level playing field, through the process of intensive talks between Chief Negotiators agreed with the President of the European Commission,” a Downing Street spokesperson said.
Ms Loiseau and Mr Karleskind look forward to collecting signatures of MEPs that are willing to support the French President’s request. They said, “We are asking for continuous access to British waters and fish as much as the UK is asking for access to the European market.
“In the final stretch, we, members of the European Parliament, say to our negotiator as to the Heads of State and Government: we stand ready to give our consent to an agreement. We stand ready, but not at any cost!”