Boris Johnson presses Macron to withdraw French threats over fishing

Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson
Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson

The Prime Minister reportedly reiterated a deep concern over the "rhetoric" coming from the French Government in recent days

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Boris Johnson has met French President Macron today at the G20 Summit in Rome and pressed him to "de-escalate" rhetoric and "withdraw their threats" over the ongoing fishing dispute between France and the United Kingdom.

The Prime Minister reportedly reiterated a deep concern over the "rhetoric" coming from the French Government in recent days, including the suggestions by the French PM that the UK should be punished for leaving the EU.

A further war of words broke out afterwards, with French officials insisting 'operational measures' had been agreed to end the standoff over granting post-Brexit licences for British waters.

This was quickly rejected by 10 Downing Street, with Boris Johnson's spokesman saying its 'position has not changed' and it is a matter for France to decide whether to back off the threats.

Wider afield the two men said they looked forward to meeting at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow, agreeing the conference "must be a decisive moment in the fight against climate change."

They also discussed the Northern Ireland protocol, which Mr Johnson told President Macron was "the most important issue currently affecting UK-EU relations", highlighting an urgent need to a solution in order to protect the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.

A French minister has said Paris “stands ready to implement proportionate and reversible measures from November 2” after accusing the UK of choosing to breach the terms of the post-Brexit trade deal over its handling of fishing licences.

Clement Beaune, France’s secretary of state for European affairs, said on Twitter: “We do not lack just a few licences, but more than 40% of French detailed requests.