UK 'shooting itself in foot' over fishing row says ex-French minister
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Former French foreign trade minister Pierre Lellouche has said that the French have been waiting a year to resolve the issue of post-Brexit fishing rights, adding that the UK is “shooting itself in the foot” by “organising a naval war in Jersey”. It came after George Eustice warned that the UK could retaliate if France proceeded with their threats.
Speaking to BBC Newsnight, Pierre Lellouche said: “I am sorry to see.. I’m completely independent now. I’ve served five terms in Parliament.
“I have been a minister of Europe, been doing the foreign trade.
“And I when I see this inflammation on the part of my British colleagues, I’m kind of sorry, I think it’s ridiculous.
“This is a question that is technical, but it is in the context of a very bad relationship with Boris Johnson and the administration in London, that’s a fact.”
Read more: Fishing row ‘completely blown out of proportion’ as Macron under election pressure
He continued: “It’s a fact we have a problem with the interpretation of Brexit.
“For major issues of customs in Northern Ireland.
“We have a fishery question which was not resolved by Brexit contrary to what that was still open, and it’s been a year that we’ve been waiting for a resolution of this.
“And it is a minor issue. I mean, with due respect, all of this fishing stuff is we present less than 1 percent of the UK economy.”
He added: “And the irony is 70% of the fish caught by British boats are being sold in Europe.
“So it’s absurd.
“It’s like shooting oneself in the foot to organise a naval war in Jersey.
The dispute over licences continues between Paris and London.
France made threats over post-Brexit fishing rights, saying it could stop British boats from landing.
The environment secretary has warned that “two can play at that game” if France goes ahead with these threats.
A British trawler was detained by France on Thursday.
French authorities said vessel, the Cornelis Gert Jan, did not have a licence.
This has been denied by its owner.
A hearing will take place in August next year.
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