France is set to be hit by a devastating reduction in fishing quotas in British waters after Brexit.
President Emmanuel Macron would be isolated by demanding that the bloc refuse a trade deal with Britain unless his strict access demands are met.
Emmanuel Macron will order Michel Barnier to demand that the United Kingdom cede the waters for the Brexit deal
French Minister of European Affairs Clément Beaune
And Mr Beaune insisted that France would ensure that Mr Barnier sticks to the strict guidelines given to him by EU leaders over the coming weeks.
He added: “The government’s position has been the same from the start. We want and hope to reach an agreement and this agreement must include fisheries. It cannot be isolated or treated in a secondary way.
“We said fishing was a priority. We have a few other key priorities. They are transparent. They have been known for months. In particular, a level playing field in access to our market and this is therefore what must be respected.
“We prefer to come to an agreement, but we will not accept any agreement. We can understand the UK’s position and priorities, but we also need to respect the EU’s position, which is not new, and which is that of France and 26 other countries.
“I will repeat it. There is a very high priority in the fisheries sector, which should not be isolated or mistreated in these negotiations because it is important for the British, but it is also very important for France and many other countries of the EU.
Mr Barnier is reportedly ready to tone down the bloc’s controversial fishing demands in order to negotiate a Brexit trade deal with Britain.
Lord Frost is in Brussels for further talks with the EU
Meanwhile, two politicians from Mr Macron’s En Marche party are pressuring MEPs to back France’s position on post-Brexit fishing opportunities.
French MEPs Nathalie Loiseau and Pierre Karleskind are urging their colleagues in the European Parliament to reject any trade agreement unless European fishermen are guaranteed “continuous access to British waters and fish”.
In a leaked memo, seen by Express.co.uk, French politicians plan to issue a public threat against Boris Johnson as tight negotiations begin in Brussels.
They wrote: ‘As the Brexit negotiations draw to a close, there is a particular need for signals of unity from all EU institutions, to strengthen the hand of our negotiator Michel Barnier and ensure that a partnership agreement, if achievable, protects the interests of our fellow citizens.
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Michel Barnier is the EU’s main Brexit negotiator
Ms. Loiseau is a former French Minister for Europe and a close confidante of President Macron and Mr. Karleskind is Chairman of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee.
The couple plan to issue an open letter, warning that UK negotiators must compromise in the bitter dispute over access to the country’s fishing grounds or face a no-deal Brexit.
“These negotiations are coming to an end; the UK and the EU realize that there is very little time left to reach an agreement. As representatives of our fellow citizens, we must protect their interests and this will be our only guideline when we vote on the outcome of the negotiations, ”said the leaked note.
“We have been very clear so far and will continue to be so: there will be no free trade agreement without a balanced, sustainable and long-term agreement on fisheries. There is nothing that would change your mind, let’s not reverse the logic of our negotiations.
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He adds: “A future partnership agreement only makes sense if it protects the interests of the signatories, there is no doubt that the UK will lose some advantages by leaving the single market, but it is the choice that ‘he did. Threatening the European fisheries sector will not widen the doors to the single market. Why should European fishermen suffer the consequences of a decision, Brexit, of which they were not a part?
“The EU’s negotiating position is simple and transparent: to protect the interests of EU citizens and businesses, in no way undermine them. The fishing industry is no exception. ”
Boris Johnson has insisted that Britain must become a sovereign coastal state after Brexit, where the government has full control over its waters.
Talks continue in Brussels this week between Michel Barnier and Lord Frost ahead of a critical summit of EU leaders on Thursday.
A UK official said: “There is still a big gap on fish. The EU must be more realistic if an agreement is to be reached. ”
And the Prime Minister’s spokesperson said, “We will work as hard as possible to see if we can get a deal by October 15.
“The EU itself told the British negotiating team in July that mid-October was the last possible moment for a deal.”
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega