UK Brexit minister Lord David Frost has today outlined the UK’s “position and concerns” over the post-Brexit fishing row with France in a crunch meeting with a senior French minister today.
A Number 10 press release said Frost and European minister Clément Beaune met in Paris this morning where they “discussed the range of difficulties arising from the application of the agreements between the UK and the EU”.
French President Emmanuel Macron backed down from his threat earlier this week to block British seafood exports and put up trade barriers in an escalation of the long-running row.
French authorities also last night released a British trawler that had been detained last week allegedly for operating without a proper licence.
Discussions are now being held over how to resolve the matter, with Paris asking for London to award hundreds more licences to French fishermen to operate in British waters.
“Lord Frost and Europe Minister Clément Beaune met in Paris this morning,” a Number 10 spokesperson said.
“As foreshadowed, they discussed the range of difficulties arising from the application of the agreements between the UK and the EU. Both sides set out their positions and concerns.
“Lord Frost will meet European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič in Brussels tomorrow. Lord Frost and Minister Beaune expect to speak again early next week.”
France claims the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement gave its fishermen the right to 175 licences to work between six and 12 nautical miles off the coast of mainland Britain, but the UK has only handed out 103 this year.
The French government also says it has the right to 216 licences to fish off the coast of Jersey, but that it has only been given 105.
Under the terms of the post-Brexit trade deal, EU fishing vessels have to show they have a “track record” of operating in British waters to get a renewed licence.
Eustice said French fishermen have been given every opportunity to provide data that proves they have historically fished in British waters.