Paris has said it will delay a European Union financial services deal with Britain until Prime Minister Boris Johnson grants European fishermen fair access to British waters, a source close to Britain said on Wednesday. of the French decision.
“We made a connection between the two,” the source said.
The post-Brexit dispute over access to the UK’s rich fishing grounds last week saw France and Britain send patrol boats to the Channel Island of Jersey as French trawlers protested there.
A second source, an EU diplomat, said Britain was failing to abide by the terms of an agreement governing its post-Brexit trade relationship with the EU. There can be no progress in other areas if these are not resolved, the person added.
“It’s not just France and it’s not just fishing,” said the European diplomat. “Britain must fully implement the agreements it signed, which is not currently the case.”
Britain’s huge financial services sector was largely cut off from the EU, its biggest export customer, on December 31, when the UK completed its departure from the bloc.
A new trade deal between the UK and the EU does not cover financial services and direct access to the European single market for financial firms in the City of London has yet to be decided by the bloc as part of a process known as equivalence.
Britain and the EU have agreed in principle to a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between financial regulators, but it has not yet been formally ratified by the 27 member countries of the Union, including France. .
“We will resume our equivalency assessments once the regulatory cooperation framework is in place and do so on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the UK’s regulatory intent,” the chief financial officer of the UK said on Tuesday. EU, Mairead McGuinness.
British banks say they don’t expect the EU to grant meaningful direct access anytime soon and that it is better to spend time making the city more attractive on a global scale.
French fishermen say Jersey, an autonomous British Crown dependency, unilaterally imposed restrictions on the waters they could fish in when it issued licenses in late April.
Jersey has since offered to postpone new post-Brexit restrictions on French fishermen until the end of July, French Marine Minister Annick Girardin said on Tuesday.
“New Jersey proposal: we’re not there yet,” the minister later tweeted.