Emmanuel Macron backs down on threats to sue Britain over post-Brexit fishing licenses | United Kingdom | News
Paris had threatened to sue the UK government over the long-standing impasse over access to UK waters for French fishermen. However, the European Commission has reportedly ordered France to back down from a move that could embroil the EU in a trade war.
The German government is also believed to be worried about a dispute between Britain and the bloc.
Sources present at a meeting of ministers in Brussels on Tuesday said the possibility of legal action over the fisheries was not part of the discussion, MailOnline reports.
A French victory could have resulted in the imposition of tariffs on British fish exports to the EU and the banning of British trawlers from bloc waters.
Post-Brexit rules mean French skippers are denied unhindered access to British seas and must seek permission.
France says the UK has not issued enough licenses, but Britain insists applications have been given the green light to those with the correct documents.
Paris had warned the UK that it could take legal action if there was no further movement on the licenses.
The news comes after European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said France was unhappy with the situation.
In December, France said 93% of requested licenses had been issued by Britain, up from 60% in early November.
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He added: “We will, together with the Commission, look at all the levers at our disposal to see what can be done, because it is clear that we are not happy with the situation.
“We need to continue our dialogue on this specific issue related to fisheries to ensure that we can obtain the licenses that have not yet been issued.
“And as we said in December, if dialogue proves insufficient, legal action may be required.”
The fishing line focuses on trawling licenses in UK and Channel Islands waters under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).
Before Brexit, French fishermen could fish freely in British waters, but since Brexit they need a special license from the British government or the crown dependencies of Jersey and Guernsey to fish in certain areas.
The main source of contention in the current dispute is the number of fishing licenses in waters around the UK coastline granted to small French vessels, which must be able to prove they operated in those areas before Brexit.