France weighs Brexit fish supply while protecting industry

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(Bloomberg) – France may be willing to compromise on its fishermen’s access to British waters after Brexit, a topic that has threatened to block trade talks between the European Union and the United KingdomThe French government has suggested to the fishing industry that compromises will have to be made, according to a Paris lawmaker, who asked not to be named because deliberations are private. However, as negotiations on the broader trade deal intensify, France’s position is basically unchanged, according to a person familiar with the talks.

Although of minimal economic importance, the fisheries issue risks derailing a UK-EU deal because of political ramifications for both sides. French boats have been fishing in British waters for centuries and the industry depends on the catches they make there.

Major sector

“Fishing is a major sector for certain regions of France,” said Minister for Europe Clément Beaune on Twitter. “Moral, territorial and economic issues are at stake.”

As a member of the EU, the UK was bound by the Common Fisheries Policy, which shared its waters among European countries on historical grounds. The EU’s tough stance, designed by France, is that the status quo should remain when the UK leaves the European system on December 31.

But French President Emmanuel Macron has acknowledged that his country’s industry will need to change and his officials have indicated he is ready to compromise. The government asked its fishing industry what concessions would be acceptable to them, Reuters reported on Friday.

Macron’s office did not respond to calls for comment when approached by Bloomberg.

“Fishing is being used by the UK in a tactical way,” Macron told reporters at a European summit in Brussels earlier this month. “If there is no agreement, this is the only subject on which Boris Johnson can say” I won. ”

Negotiations on a trade deal resumed in London on Thursday, with both sides aiming for a deal in about three weeks.

(Add the French position to the third paragraph)

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