Macron is a figure of hate says Niall McCrae
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet with Mr Macron at the G20 summit in Rome on Sunday. It comes after Environmental Secretary George Eustice warned that the UK would retaliate if Paris follows through with threats amid a row over post-Brexit fishing rights. Catherine Colonna, France’s ambassador to the UK, was summoned for talks after a British trawler was seized by France and another fined during checks off Le Havre on Thursday.
Scottish seafood giant Macduff Shellfish, which owns the vessel, has repeated its claims all its activity was entirely legal.
But Government defence advisor Nicholas Drummond has told Express.co.uk that “any way you look at it, France’s behaviour is extremely damaging to NATO”.
He added: “Putin must be rubbing his hands with glee to see European relationships fracturing in this way.
‘Macron needs to start treating us like the ally we remain. He needs to show greater diplomatic skill and to stop behaving like a spoilt child, as he did with the US and Australia over the AUKUS deal.
“If he climbed down from this aggressive stance and tried to normalise relations between our two countries, he might find the UK far more conciliatory towards French fisherman than we will be when threatened.”
MR Drummond pointed out that the stance France is currently taking risks fracturing the UK’s relationship with the EU as well.
He added: “Behind all this, there are many in the UK that would like cultivate a closer relationship with Europe again – perhaps even moving towards a Norway or Switzerland style relationship, which would obviously require us to cede ground on various issues.
“This is never going to happen while there is so much ill-feeling between France and the UK, especially if France stirs up the EU against us.
“Internationally, I sense there is a growing feeling that Macron is immature and egotistical.
“The world does not revolve around him or France any more than it revolves around Boris Johnson and the UK.”
France is threatening to block British boats from its ports if the UK does not allow more of its vessels to use British waters, but the Government says it will retaliate with “proportionate” measures if necessary.
Fishing has been a major point of contention between the UK and the EU during and after Brexit negotiations, with the two sides struggling to agree on future rights in European waters.
Previous tensions with France over fishing rights prompted Royal Navy ships to be scrambled to Jersey amid concerns of a blockade of the island.
The UK and Jersey have reportedly turned down applications from dozens of French boats to fish in their waters.
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Paris sees this as a breach of Britain’s post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.
A Government spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “Lord [David] Frost chaired a Ministerial meeting earlier today to consider the UK response to the measures set out by France yesterday.
“The proposed French actions are unjustified and do not appear to be compatible on the EU’s part with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) or wider international law. We regret the confrontational language that has been consistently used by the French government on this issue, which makes this situation no easier to resolve.
“We have raised our concerns strongly with both the French and the EU Commission. As a next step, the Foreign Secretary has instructed Minister Morton to summon the French Ambassador.
“We repeat that the Government has granted 98% of licence applications from EU vessels to fish in the UK’s waters and, as has consistently been made clear, will consider any further evidence on the remainder.”
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