Macron could still scupper Brexit deal over cynical political move

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However, the French President is facing renewed pressure from the EU to back down on his hardline fishing demands. Fisheries are one of the last major obstacles to getting a Brexit deal. Mr Macron has repeatedly pushed for EU fishermen to the same access to the UK’s waters despite Brexit – which Boris Johnson and chief negotiator Lord Frost have vehemently opposed on the grounds of Britain regain her sovereignty.

He is now facing increasing pressure from Germany to accept less access to UK fishing territories so a deal can be reached before the end of the Brexit transition period.

However, the French president’s hard-line stance may be due to electioneering.

Observers suggest he hopes to be seen as France’s defender of its coastal communities.

If he acquires a big concession over fishing rights he could shed his “president of the rich” label.

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The French President has faced repeated backlash from the so-called Yellow Vest protests across the country, where demonstrators complained Mr Macron only cares about the metropolitan elites.

But, this view could change if he manages to place pressure to get more access to British waters.

The French fishing industry accounts for very little of its overall economy, only 0.06 percent.

However, the fishing industry punches above its weight politically.

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Bruno Cautrès, a political analyst at the Cevipof thinktank told the Daily Telegraph: “Symbolically, fisheries are a big issue.

“Macron has to hold out for a deal that doesn’t hit coastal communities too hard.

“He must hold out for one that will not reinforce the perception that he only looks after the capital and the big cities.”

But, the French president is under pressure from Angel Merkel to not jeopardise trade with the UK over a political move.

Mr Cautrès said: “It would be very difficult for Macron to veto a deal if France found itself isolated in the EU.

“This issue is particularly important for France but not for all member-states.”

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