Boris calls on EU to rein in Macron fishing row threats or EU will be in breach

Brexit: Boris Johnson 'worried' France is in breach of trade deal

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The British Prime Minister is set to finally meet with Emmanuel Macron on Sunday as they are both in attendance at the G20 Summit in Rome. Prior to this highly anticipated one on one, Mr Johnson met with Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission on Saturday.

Amid a furious row over post-Brexit fishing rights, the PM warned Ms Von der Leyen that the recent sanctions imposed on the UK by France could put the entire EU in breach of its post-Brexit trade deal with the UK.

Emmanuel Macron has been more offensive in the last few days after French fishermen failed to qualify for a fishing permit allocated by the UK.

Mr Macron’s government has threatened to block British fishing boats from landing at the country’s ports, tighten checks on UK vessels and lorries, and even disrupt electricity supplies to Jersey.

One British boat was even detained by French authorities while another was fined last Friday.

Following the meeting between Boris Johnson and the EU Commission leader, a UK government source told The Times: “The EU needs to do something here because if France goes ahead it will put the whole EU in breach.”

Britain could now trigger the dispute mechanism in the post-Brexit UK-EU trade agreement as soon as this week over the fishing row with France.

Another source warned that it was “the EU’s responsibility” to comply with the post-Brexit trade agreement, which Mr Johnson told Mrs von der Leyen was now under threat.

“The Prime Minister raised his concerns about the rhetoric from the French government in recent days over the issue of fishing licences,” a Downing Street spokesman told The Times.

“The Prime Minister stressed that the French threats are completely unjustified and do not appear to be compatible with the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement or wider international law.”

The current fishing row and controversy regarding the Northern Island Protocol were made worse by the revelation of a letter sent by French Prime Minister Jean Castex to Ursula Von der Leyen.

Mr Castex reportedly wrote that it was “essential to make clear that leaving the union is more damaging than remaining in it.”

A senior government source said: “The letter definitely raises a question of how the EU is acting and whether or not it is acting in good faith around the negotiations.”

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The recent tensions have also pushed Boris Johnson to consider triggering Article 16 from the 2019 Northern Ireland Protocol.

Number 10 is requesting to remove the European Court of Justice (ECJ) from taking any role in adjudicating disputes over the Irish border.

The Prime Minister recently said that “all the conditions have been met” to trigger Article 16.

Brexit Secretary Lord David Frost has already begun communicating with Tory MPs to brief them on the situation and gather their support in the event the Government does trigger Article 16.

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