French PM’s ‘extraordinary letter’ shows EU hellbent on ‘punishing’ Brexit Britain

Fishing: Retired Royal Navy admiral criticises France’s reaction

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The letter showed how French Prime Minister Jean Castex privately requested that the EU steps up its opposition to British actions in the ongoing fishing row. The letter from Mr Castex added that the bloc must demonstrate to the public that it is more damaging to leave the EU than to stay. Politico editor Alex Wickman said the letter revealed how “France told Brussels it must demonstrate that Britain has been damaged by leaving the EU”.

In a further tweet, Mr Wickman spoke about France’s call for “corrective measures” if ongoing disputes cannot be resolved.

He added: “France requests tougher EU action over fishing row, tells Brussels it must demonstrate leaving the EU is more damaging than to stay, calls for EU-UK Partnership Council meeting, asks EU to apply Article 506 “corrective measures” if not resolved.”

Referring to the letter from Mr Castex to Ms von der Leyen, Twitter user Steven Edginton tweeted: “The EU is so weak it must punish member states for leaving.

“Much like the Soviet Union, it cannot prove its benefits so uses threats to keep people in line.

“Britain clearly made the right long term choice.”

In the letter, Mr Castex states that the “non-cooperative attitude of the United Kingdom” risks harming not just the French fishermen, but also the EU.

He said that the UK’s attitude would “set a precedent for the future”.

Mr Castex added that it calls into question “our credibility and our capacity to defend our rights when it comes to international agreements signed by the Union”.

France was angered by a decision from the UK and Jersey last month to deny fishing licences to dozens of French boats that had applied to access UK waters.

Paris has argued that this has breached the Brexit deal.

France warned it would block British vessels from landing their catches in some French ports next week.

On Wednesday, Paris demanded that the issue be resolved by 2 November or else it would tighten border checks on UK boats and trucks.

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However, a UK government spokesperson speaking to the BBC told how a “small number of vessels” did not qualify for licences.

This was “because the French vessels have never accessed Jersey waters before”.

The spokesperson added that the UK had an “ever open door” and the government would wait to see what decision is made by France about the fishing dispute by Tuesday.

After this date, the UK would “reserve the right to respond in a proportionate way”.

France also threatened to slap hefty tariffs on electricity to the Channel Islands.

Following this, British ministers are now considering launching “dispute settlement proceedings” with the EU if France goes ahead with the “unjustified measures” of utilising energy tariffs.

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