France delays sanctions as talks over access continue

France will delay retaliatory measures against the UK while talks over post-Brexit fishing rights continue, Emmanuel Macron has said.

France had threatened to stop British fishing boats offloading catches at its ports from midnight in a row over the licensing of French fishing boats.

But the French president told reporters the sanctions would be put off as talks between officials continue.

The UK said it welcomed the move and would continue “intensive” discussions.

A government spokesman added this would include “considering any new evidence” to support the remaining French licence applications.

Brexit minister Lord Frost will also meet France’s European affairs minister Clement Beaune on Thursday to discuss a range of Brexit issues.

The French government said its measures would now not come into effect before this meeting took place.

In a statement, the president’s office added it expected the UK to respond to France’s latest proposals on licensing by Wednesday.

The row flared up last month, after the UK and Jersey denied permits to dozens of French boats to operate in waters near their coastline.

France had threatened to take a series of measures against the UK unless more licences were granted by midnight on Monday.

Representatives from the EU Commission, France, the UK and the Channel Islands began talks on Monday, seeking to diffuse the row.

French media quoted Mr Macron telling reporters at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow these would now continue on Tuesday.

“It’s not while we’re negotiating that we’re going to impose sanctions,” he was quoted as saying.

“We’ll see where we are tomorrow [Tuesday] at the end of the day, to see if things have really changed,” he added.

<<BBC>>