Macron is trying to 'save his skin in France' says Andrew Bolt
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France had previously captured a British fishing vessel, and threatened to blockade boats from the UK over post-Brexit fishing licences. However, the row has seen infighting within the French Government, as some accuse Michel Barnier of failing to protect the country’s fishing industry.
Christophe Castaner, president of Mr Macron’s La République en Marche group at the National Assembly, took aim at the EU’s Brexit negotiator.
He said: “Those who negotiated the Brexit treaty told us, ‘Don’t worry, everything’s fine’ … now we find there are imprecisions in the text which the UK is using.”
When asked whether he blamed Mr Barnier for these “imprecisions,” Mr Castaner said: “If the UK can find a loophole in the text, it means it was not negotiated in the best way.”
It marks the first time an ally of Mr Macron attacked the Brexit trade agreement.
Mr Barnier is running in the conservative party Les Républicains (LR) party primary, and has recently enjoyed a surge in the polls.
He served as the European Commission’s Head of Task Force for Relations with the UK up to Britain’s exit from the EU in January 2021.
Previously, Mr Macron praised Mr Barnier’s efforts in negotiating the trade deal, saying in 2018 he did a “very good” and “remarkable job”.
In October, Mr Barnier took aim at the UK for “taking French fishermen hostage” post-Brexit.
He urged Lord Frost to stick to what was promised in the UK-EU future relationship deal.
He added: “Taking hostage the fishing rights of a few small boats in the Channel will not solve Britain’s Brexit problems.
“The Johnson Government must respect its signature and international responsibilities, both in spirit and letter.”
It comes after talks in Paris between Lord Frost and French minister Clement Beaune ended in a stalemate.
Mr Beaune assured Lord Frost a blockade is off the table for now, as the skipper at the centre of the spat docked back in Britain.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “They’ve made it clear to us they’re not planning to introduce them in the short-term.”
A Government source said: “We’re glad that the French want to keep talking and haven’t yet followed through on their unlawful threats.”
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