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The French President issued the latest warning as he arrived for the crunch two-day European Council summit of EU leaders in Brussels, where it is hoped progress can be made over a post-Brexit trade deal. Intense negotiations are ongoing between the two sides, but significant gaps remain on a number of red lines, predominantly the thorny issue of fisheries, with agreement seemingly a long way off. Mr Macron warned on Thursday “our fishermen will not be the victims of Brexit”, and added: “We didn’t make that choice. The British people did,” also warning France is ready for a no deal outcome.
But this has sparked a furious reaction from Brexiteer Daniel Kawczynski, who described the comments from Mr Macron as “highly discourteous and disrespectful”.
He accused the French President of still failing to understand the UK has now become a sovereign state and that French fishermen will no longer be able to fish in British waters after Brexit.
The Conservative MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham said there is an “absolute determination” that the government should not make any further concessions to the EU on fisheries.
Mr Kawczynski told Express.co.uk: “Macron is playing true to form. What he is saying again is highly discourteous and disrespectful.
“He still hasn’t got to grips with the fact that we are now an independent sovereign nation and British waters are not going to be continued to be fished by French fishermen, plundering fishing stocks.
“For example, off the coast of Cornwall, 80 percent of fishing goes to the EU and there is just a tiny fraction left for British fishermen.
“I have been talking to Conservative MPs today in the House of Commons and there is an absolute determination that the Government does not make any further concessions on fishing.”
Mr Kawczynski has urged the UK to walk away from the negotiating table without a Brexit trade deal in place if an agreement can’t be reached on fisheries.
He continued: “The trade deficit for the EU is now approaching £90billion a year, and they will have to pay three times as many tariffs to our exchequer as we will have to pay them.
“If the EU is not prepared to do a deal on this, then we need to walk away without a deal and revert to the Australian WTO model.”
Mr Macron made his latest threat on fisheries as he arrived for the beginning of a crucial two-day European Council Summit in Brussels.
The French President has been outspoken in his defence of rights he believes should be granted to French fishermen after Brexit and has continued to warn the UK to drop their stance.
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He said earlier today: “I want to be very clear about Brexit. We know what subjects remain to be discussed and what subjects haven’t found a solution yet: fisheries.
“Our fishermen will not be the victims of Brexit. We didn’t make that choice. The British people did.
“So the access to British waters is a key issue in these negotiations.
“But one thing is certain, we don’t want an agreement at any price.
“If the conditions are not met, it’s possible to leave without an agreement.
“We are prepared for a no deal. France is ready.”
Britain, which has long been seen to hold the upper hand in fisheries talks, is looking to reduce the access European Union vessels can have in UK waters after Brexit.
The EU, in turn, wants to stay as close as possible to current quota shares and access rights under the much-hated Common Fisheries Policy.
Boris Johnson has said he will protect UK fishermen in any trade deal with Brussels, and has vowed to “take back control of our waters” following the UK’s departure from the bloc on January 1, 2021.
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