UK warns France it may retaliate over fishing threats – BBC News

boris johnson is to meet the french president emmanuel macron this weekend to try to defuse growing tensions over post-brexit fishing rights both leaders are in rome attending a g20 summit amid acrimony between the uk and france concerning access to each other's territorial waters france claims britain has denied fishing licenses to dozens of french boats while britain says the majority of licenses licenses have been issued but some french vessels don't meet the criteria for british waters france having already impounded one uk vessel is now threatening to block other boats entering her ports boris johnson says he's puzzled by the threat and warns he'll do whatever's necessary to protect uk interests with the very latest here's our political correspondent alex forsyth arriving in rome with a diplomatic row brewing the prime minister stressed the ties that bind the uk and france an old ally and friend but the french president tonight told the financial times the uk's credibility is at stake in the row over fishing this is the front line of this fight which has been rumbling for months the authorities here in jersey and across the uk say they have stuck to agreements made after brexit and issued licenses to french boats that can prove a history of fishing these waters but france says dozens have been unfairly denied local fishermen like their counterparts across the channel are frustrated and worried the feeling amongst the fleet yesterday was one of absolute despair certainly there are real difficult times ahead and a big worry down here is how are we going to try and preserve the fleet and come out the other end with the fishing fleet intact the row escalated this week when this british trawler was detained by french authorities a warning shot about what might follow france has threatened further checks and restrictions on british vessels even suggested it could disrupt cross-channel trade the prime minister said he'd be surprised if that happened but the uk was ready to do what's necessary the government is ready to retaliate two can play at that game is what i would say but in the first instance uh what we're doing is raising this with the european commission it's it's always open to us to increase the enforcement that we do on french vessels to board more of them if that's what they're doing to our vessels in a further sign of tension the french ambassador was summoned to the foreign office where she was given a dressing down the language on both sides is ramping up but they are still talking both here and in france fishing is an emotional issue which carries political clout boris johnson promised british fisherman brexit would mean a better deal in france president macron's facing an election which brings its own pressures both sides have reasons to take a tough stance but both know a serious escalation could be damaging this spring french boat staged a protest off jersey over the same issue the uk says it does want a diplomatic solution to this ongoing dispute france has set a deadline of tuesday for it to be resolved there is a time for flexi muscles and and and put your your you know your trump cards on the table there are times for negotiations the next step is really negotiation but for now it's the fishermen that are caught in this diplomatic row alex forsyth bbc news westminster

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