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Brexit: Lord Frost to demand Emmanuel Macron drop fishing threats ‘once and for all’ | Politics | News

Brexit Minister Lord David Frost, 56, will meet with Monsieur Macron’s explosive European Minister Clement Beaune, 40, as cross-channel tensions continue to sour. Monsieur Beaune confirmed the pair would meet earlier this week when he published a fishing thread to his Twitter timeline.

Lord Frost responded to the comments by saying: “I look forward to our talks in Paris on Thursday.”

But Beaune and Frost had previously been caught up in a “disappointing” disagreement on the social media network.

Following a slew of accusations by the French European Minister in one exchange last month, the UK’s Cabinet Secretary said: “It is very disappointing that France has felt it necessary to make threats late this evening against the UK fishing industry and seemingly traders more broadly.”

The explosive interaction may help explain why the MailOnline reports officials fear the meeting could further exacerbate Anglo-French tensions, especially after Lord Frost makes clear Boris Johnson’s Government will not buckle on the issue of fishing boat licences.

Instead, a Number 10 spokesman is claimed to have said: “We remain confident that we are enforcing the rules as set out.

“We have taken a number of steps to assist the French fishing fleet in providing the necessary evidence.”

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Earlier this week, French President Emmanuel Macron, 43, suspended French plans to block British boats from offloading catches at ports on the other side of the Channel.

France’s fishing threat surrender also means the President called off proposed measures to impose new checks on lorries moving from Brexit Britain into the country.

Despite the concessions from Paris, a French Government spokesman has warned France could reinstate the proposed sanctions if the UK refuses to budge.

“All options are on the table,” Gabriel Attal warned.

Tensions between the UK and France come after the implementation of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.

Under the Prime Minister’s UK-EU agreement, French boats will have access to fish in six to 12 miles of British waters until 2026, provided they can prove they had been fishing in those waters before the UK severed ties with the continental bloc.

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The deal is also supposed to reduce the size of the EU’s catch by 25 percent by 2026, delivering the UK’s coastal industry an estimated Brexit bonus of £145million per year.

However, Paris has complained about the number of French fishermen whose applications have so far been rejected.

Tensions ramped up in September after it was reported the UK authorised just 12 out of 47 applications in one batch of bids and to add salt to French wounds Jersey went on to refuse bids for 75 French boats.

However, Britain’s Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis has since released data showing 98 percent of the 1,831 licence fishing applications had been granted by the UK Government.

Following a meeting with officials from France, Jersey, the UK and European Commission last Wednesday, the Channel Island also accepted an additional 162 French fishing boat licences.

A Scottish-registered scallop dredger Cornelis Gert Jan was still intercepted by France after it was accused of fishing in French waters without being on the European register.

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Skipper Jondy Ward defended his movements along the Normandy coast by saying: “We had everything in order on the bridge, as far as I was concerned we had everything in place to be legal.”

His lawyer, Mathieu Croix, added: “We’re clearly caught in a political game as there is a whole story spun around this entire case, whereas in fact it is a rather mundane affair over fishing in an area that is supposedly out of bounds, and about licences that may or may not have been given and catch amounts that are relatively modest.”

Mr Ward has since been able to walk free from France and take his vessel with him without paying a €150,000 bill.

Lord Frost’s trip to Paris comes after the Brexit Minister has been engaged in tête-à-tête discussions with EU officials about the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The Protocol, which keeps Ulster inside Brussels’ single market, has been criticised by Unionists in Northern Ireland for creating constitutional and economic problems between the province and the rest of the UK.

While the EU has said it will reduce border checks on up to 80 percent of goods travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, the UK Government maintains Ulster should join Brexit Britain in being outside of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

The Cabinet Secretary is expected to discuss whether progress has been made on the Northern Ireland issue in a meeting with his EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic tomorrow.

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