During a frosty meeting at COP26, Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson exchanged cryptic gestures today as the furious Anglo–French fisheries row continued to rumble on.
Mr Johnson greeted Mr Macron with an awkward elbow bump as the pair then patted each other on the arm before the latter spoke to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
The trio posed side-byside on stage for a formal photograph. Mr Macron then turned his face away from the PM and started a conversation with Mr Guterres.
Mr Johnson moved closer to join the chat, and Mr Macron crossed his arms as the conversation between the three men continued. Mr Macron then left the stage.
The interaction between Mr Johnson, Mr Macron was more serious and strained than when the PM received other world leaders this morning.
After Liz Truss delivered a harsh rebuke, Mr Macron arrived at the summit after Mr Macron demanded that he’stop threatening’ Britain over the bitter fish licences dispute.
The deadline that the French President set for tomorrow to allow more small boats to be licensed to work in UK waters was rejected today by the Foreign Secretary.
Instead, she argued that Paris is under pressure as the Government is ready and able to take action for breaches of the post Brexit trade deal.
Ms Truss also took the chance to inflame the dispute when she suggested that Mr Macron is attacking Britain in order to boost his re-election chances next Year.
French officials warned that they will block UK fishing boats from certain ports, and tighten customs inspections on lorries entering Britain with British goods starting tomorrow. This is unless more licences for their small boats to fish within British waters.
Other threats include a ‘go slow’ at customs, and even higher tariffs on energy bills. The number of boats that are granted permits is increasing, but the UK insists that only those who have a history of fishing in waters prior to Brexit will be allowed to keep their permits.
Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson exchanged cryptic gestures today at COP26
Boris Johnson greeted Emmanuel Macron in an awkward elbow bump. They then patted each others on the arm, before the latter spoke with Antonio Guterres (United Nations Secretary General).
The trio posed side-byside on stage for a formal photograph. Mr Macron then turned his face away from the PM and made conversation with Mr Guterres.
Mr Johnson stepped closer to try to join the chat and Mr Macron crossed his arms as the exchange continued before he then left the stage
The interaction between Mr Johnson, Mr Macron was more serious than when the PM received other world leaders this morning.
To emphasize a point made during his conversation with Mr Macron, Mr Johnson pushed his left hand down.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, pictured at COP today, rejected the deadline by the French President of tomorrow for small boats to receive licences for UK waters.
There are fears that the fishing row might overshadow the COP26 summit which will be held in Glasgow. Pictured this morning is Mr Johnson welcoming President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission
French authorities took the Cornelis Gert January, a British trawler last week at Le Havre port.
Ms Truss answered Sky News’ questions about whether France and Britain had reached an agreement. She said that the French had made unreasonable threats to our fishing industry, and that they needed to withdraw these threats. Or else, we will use the mechanisms in our trade agreement with EU to take action.
She said that the action would involve using the post-Brexit dispute settlement mechanism to seek compensatory measures’.
She said, “That’s what we will do if they don’t backdown,”
“Stop threatening UK fishing vessels and Channel ports, and accept that we are fully within our rights to allocate fishing licenses in accordance with the trade agreement.”
She stated that she would ‘absolutely” take legal action in the following days if France doesn’t back down on threats.
She continued, “We’re not just going to roll over in face of these threats.”
Ms Truss stated that Mr Macron may be making “unreasonable threats” because of the impending election.
She said, “You might think there’s a French Election coming up,”
After a day of extraordinary briefing, Mr Macron and Boris Johnson attended G20 Summit in Rome, the French premier insisted that Britain is the winner and that reprisals will be carried out.
Paris claimed that Mr Johnson had reached a de-escalation agreement with Mr Macron in a day of extraordinary briefing. This was after 30 minutes of talks at the margins.
The pair tried to reach an agreement one-on-one, but there were no cameras or officials.
Johnson rejected that version. He stated that he saw Macron as a friend but that they had a wide-ranging and honest discussion. He said, “On fish, I have to tell you that the position is unchanged.”
Johnson stated that he was ‘puzzled by a French prime minister Jean Castex’s letter to Ursula von der Leyen. In which, according to some translations, Castex stated that the UK does more harm to leave the EU than it does to stay in.
Johnson stated at a G20 press conference that he was unable to speak for fish. For the record, I’ll only say this. I was puzzled to see a letter from the French Prime Minster asking for punishment for Britain’s decision to leave the EU.
“I just need to say that I don’t believe that that is compatible with either the spirit of the Withdrawal Agreement, or the Trade and Cooperation agreement. And that’s probably all I’ll say about that one.”
Mr Macron stated that the ball was in Britain’s hands… If the British do not move, the measures of November 2 must be implemented.
The PM’s spokesperson earlier stated that France had to decide whether to withdraw from the threats.
The spokesperson stated that they were ready to respond if they decided to break the Brexit agreement.
After the talks, a French aide said to Reuters that the goal of both the president (and the prime minister) was to work towards deescalation.
French sources claimed that the two sides had agreed to ‘operational measures’ in order to reduce the heat in the row over the next days.