France has refused to budge on its defiant hardline fisheries stance in the Brexit talks, as time runs out for a deal to be agreed. Nathalie Loiseau, a strong ally of Emmanuel Macron, told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge this morning that the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy “so far has been a success”. When questioned whether it was right for British fishermen to have access to more fish, the French MEP responded: “Why should we ruin something that works?”
A stunned Sophy Ridge responded: “You can see why fishermen in Europe might think the Common Fisheries Policy has worked.
“But, if you speak to British fishermen, they certainly don’t think it has worked.
“They think their industry has been decimated because of it.”
Fishing remains of the biggest hurdles to a deal between Britain and the EU, with claims from Brussels that a deal is 95 percent complete.
Ridge asked the French MEP: “One of the main sticking points is fishing. Fishing is a big deal here in the UK, but also a big deal over in France.
“Isn’t it right that British fishermen have access to more of fish in British waters after Brexit?”
Ms Loiseau responded: “Nobody is denying that the waters are becoming British. But nobody forgets that the Common Fisheries Policy so far has been a success.
“It has provided sustainable fishing and decent incomes on both sides. Why should we ruin something that works?
France has repeatedly warn they will block any agreement that doesn’t “preserve the interests of EU fishermen” in UK waters.
President Macron has already torpedoed a compromise offer put forward by Mr Barnier in a bid to break the deadlock.
He has instead demanded the same level of access to the UK’s fishing grounds after Brexit.
However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been adamant that Britain will become an independent coastal nation with the Government controlling access to our waters.
Federic Cuvillier, the mayor of Boulogne, said more than 5,000 jobs in his region depend on fishing. “It’s worrying, but we have to keep hoping for an agreement. We need an appeal to reason.”
Olivier Lepretre, chairman of the northern French fishermen’s association, urged the two sides to broker a sensible compromise.