Emmanuel Macron says the ‘British government does not do what it says’ in latest swipe over fishing licences but insists he wants to work with the UK ‘in good faith’
- Emmanuel Macron claimed the British government ‘does not do what it says’
- French President is angry over ongoing Brexit fishing dispute and migration
- But he added that he ‘wants terribly to have a government that wants to work simply in good faith’
- Comes week after Macron said to have called Boris a ‘clown’ and Britain a ‘circus’
Emmanuel Macron has accused Boris Johnson’s government of failing to keep its word on Brexit in a thinly veiled swipe at the row over fishing licences.
Speaking at a news conference, the French President made the dig at the Prime Minister before saying he was willing to re-engage ‘in good faith’.
It comes just a week after Macron was reported to have called Boris Johnson a ‘clown’ and Britain a ‘circus’ during a furious briefing with advisors.
‘The problem with the British government is that it does not do what it says,’ Macron said, adding however that there ‘had been progress’ in the last weeks and that France wanted full cooperation with London.
Emmanuel Macron has accused Boris Johnson’s government of failing to keep its word on Brexit in a thinly veiled swipe at the row over fishing licences
It comes just a week after Macron was reported to have called Boris Johnson a ‘clown’ and Britain a ‘circus’ during a furious briefing with advisors. Pictured: Macron and Johnson smile in front of the Trevi Fountain in Rome at the G20 summit on October 31
‘I love Great Britain, I love its people. I have an overwhelming desire to have a government that wants to works with us in good faith,’ he added.
Macron recalled recent tensions over migrants crossing the Channel and a row over the granting of British fishing licences to French fishermen, which he said he hoped would be resolved before a French deadline on Friday, despite the UK denying that they are working to any such time framework.
UK-French relations have been poor in recent months, with Macron slamming Mr Johnson’s conduct during the sausage wars, fishing row and nuclear submarine affair.
French fishermen are angry at the British government for not granting more licences to fish in UK waters after Brexit. The fishing industry is economically tiny, but symbolically important for both Britain and France.
Insiders told the highly respected investigative weekly Le Canard Enchaine (The Chained Duck) that Macron had described his counterpart as a ‘good for nothing’ during a trip to Croatia.
French fishermen are angry at the British government for not granting more licences to fish in UK waters after Brexit. Pictured: Fishermen block trucks at the Eurotunnel Freight Terminal during a day of protests in November
The outburst came the day after 27 migrants crossing to Britain drowned in the Channel in one of the worst disasters on record.
Le Canard writes: ‘As soon as he arrived in Zagreb on 24 November, Macron spoke to Boris Johnson on the phone about the tragedy in Calais.’
During this conversation, Mr Macon’s advisors learned that the Prime Minister had already used Twitter to publish ‘a letter he had just sent to Macron, which Macron had not yet been able to read.’
Mr Macron was incensed about this, and told advisors in Zagreb: ‘Bojo talks to me, he’s down to earth, everything’s fine, we’re having grown-up discussions and then he sticks it to us either beforehand or afterwards in an inelegant manner. It’s always the same circus.’
Mr Macron, a massive opponent of Brexit, also blamed Britain leaving the EU as the ‘starting point’ of ongoing tensions between the UK and France.
Macron is unhappy with Mr Johnson’s conduct over several issues, including the ongoing Channel migrant crisis. This is the first picture of the flimsy and dangerous dinghy that sank off Calais, killing 27 people
The new arrivals bring the total number to have made it to the UK this month to more than 6,000, exceeding the previous record of 3,879 in September. This year’s total is now a record-breaking 25,772
Tensions are likely to continue in the run-up to France’s presidential election next year which Macron is expected to run in but faces strong competition.
The row over fishing licences also coincides with France’s rotating presidency of the European Union Council on a six-month mandate. Macron has vowed to work towards a strong and ‘sovereign’ EU.
One point Macron is keen to resolve is the migrant crisis in the Channel, which has seen Home Secretary Priti Patel criticise French efforts to stop traffickers on their beaches.
Macron has urged Britain to create clearer paths to asylum to deter people from making the dangerous crossing.
He also said some migrants are attracted by a British economic model that ‘depends on illegal work by foreigners’.
Britain and France have accused each other of not doing enough to prevent the deaths of at least 27 migrants whose boat sank last month off the coast of Calais.
Macron was also left furious with Britain, the United States and Australia in September after they signed a new security deal called AUKUS that led Australia to abandon its purchase of French submarines.
Referring to Britain’s role in secretly negotiating the sale of US-designed submarines to Australia in September – at the expense of French ones – he said this was ‘not the most obvious sign of friendship, to use understatement’.
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