Macron postpones sanction threat in post-Brexit fishing row
The partial climbdown came three hours before Paris was expected to begin retaliatory measures, such as closing French ports to UK fishing boats and imposing tighter checks on goods coming from Britain – or even targeting electricity supplies to the Channel Islands.
Talks to end the deadlock over French access to waters around Jersey and Guernsey have resumed, Mr Macron said.
A Downing Street spokesperson welcomed the move, which postpones French sanctions until after a planned meeting on Thursday between Brexit minister Lord Frost and his French counterpart, Clement Beaune.
The closure of French ports to Jersey and Guernsey trawlers would shut off their main source of revenue, as most land their catch in France due to a lack of commercial processing facilities in the Channel Islands.
Britain says it has “robust contingency plans in place” to respond to any French action – although there are no plans to call in the Royal Navy.
“We welcome France’s acknowledgement that in-depth discussions are needed to resolve the range of difficulties in the UK/EU relationship. Lord Frost has accepted Clement Beaune’s invitation and looks forward to the discussions in Paris on Thursday,” the spokesperson said.