‘It’s your fault!’ Barnier faces French fury as he lashes out at UK over fishing row

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Speaking on France Info, the former EU Brexit negotiator said the UK Government is acting like “filibusters”, accusing Boris Johnson and his team of acting in bad faith both on fisheries and on Northern Ireland.

Mr Barnier said: “It would have been necessary to pay attention earlier to the implementation of the Brexit agreement.

“The British behave like filibusters.

“There is no good faith on their part, neither on the fisheries nor on Ireland.”

But the comments sparked the fury of Generation Frexit leader Charles-Henri Gallois, who defended Mr Johnson and accused Mr Barnier of negotiating a bad deal for France and the EU.

He said: “The British respect the agreement, Michel Barnier!

“Accept having negotiated badly for the interests of France, because you were negotiating for the EU.

“The government has also been incompetent in failing to see the flaw in the agreement.

“Our fishermen drink your fault!”

The comments come after French fishing industry representatives signalled they could block Calais and other ports to stop exports to the UK.

The steps would be in protest against what they say is Britain’s refusal to grant them more licences to fish in UK waters.

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Talks are ongoing between Britain, France and the European Commission to settle the main source of contention, which is the number of licences to fish in waters around the British coastline for smaller French vessels which can prove they have historically operated there.

But French fishermen are “exasperated” by the “endless months of waiting” and are ready to “exert more pressure” on the UK, according to the fishing committee for the northern Hauts-de-France region.

The organisation’s president, Olivier Lepretre, said on Monday: “We will hinder English interests.

“We also want to repeat to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson: your fishermen have access to European waters, we cannot see why we cannot access British waters – as was specified in the Brexit agreement.”

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He did not specify what actions would be taken, but said plans would be made by the end of the week.

The cross-Channel tensions over fishing have been long-running, with earlier rows leading to Navy ships being scrambled to Jersey amid concerns of a blockade of the island.

On Monday, France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune said all options remain on the table in the fishing row.

He said France wants a “constructive solution” over the number of licences granted to trawlers to fish in British waters, which he described as still being “not at all” satisfactory.

But he said Paris would consider taking action if the dispute is not solved, with threats including tighter checks and a ban on British trawlers landing catches in French ports.

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