Brexit: Emmanuel Macron humiliated by Belgium as they refuse to back him in fishing row

French President Macron
French President Macron

Europe minister Clement Beaune and the French PM Jean Castex were shut down by counterparts in Belgium.


Belgium has humiliated French President Emmanuel Macron by refusing to back him in the post-Brexit fishing row with the United Kingdom.

French ministers were sent to Brussels this week in an attempt to punish the UK for reportedly withholding fishing permits from their fleet.

Europe minister Clement Beaune and the French PM Jean Castex were shut down by counterparts in Belgium.

Sources reported that Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo and foreign minister Sophie Wilmes shot down the calls from Macron to instigate sanctions that were set out in a previous trade deal.

Belgium officials supposedly said the French were clearly told that the fishing row with the UK was a bi-lateral matter, and stayed well clear of the issue.

A source told the Mail Online: “There is little appetite for a trade war over this.”

“This is not our fight. We still want to resolve the outstanding issues through dialogue with the UK.”

The embarrassment by Belgium is not the first time President Macron has been embarrassed in cross EU negotiations and it will unlikely be the last.

A senior EU diplomat claimed France was clearly trying to use the fishing dispute for domestic political purposed.

As France becomes more concerned about how other EU countries view their involvement in the dispute, the issue for Macron rumbles on.

France’s minister of the sea has vowed to “continue the fight” in the country’s dispute with Britain over fishing rights.

Annick Girardin was meeting with fishermen in northern France on Sunday.

“We fight every day for these ships, for these licences, and we will not give up,” she told reporters, criticising the British interpretation of post-Brexit rules over fishing rights as “inadmissible”.

Fishing is a tiny industry economically, but one that looms large symbolically for both Britain and France.

The UK licences are at the centre of the dispute following Britain’s split with the European Union earlier this year.