(The Guardian) Boris Johnson has told the European Commission president that French threats to hold up British exports in response to a dispute over fishing licences were “completely unjustified”, as the ports of Calais and Boulogne warned of an impending disaster.
During a meeting with Ursula von der Leyen at the G20 summit in Rome, the prime minister raised his “concerns about the rhetoric from the French government”, a government spokesman said.
The UK’s Brexit minister, David Frost, also expressed his “concern and surprise” over a letter from the French prime minister, Jean Castex, to Von der Leyen in which he sought an EU-level response on the alleged shortfall in licences for French vessels wanting to operate in the coastal waters of the UK and Jersey.
Castex had written to Von der Leyen, who has yet to publicly back Paris on the issue, that it was “indispensable to show European public opinion that … it causes more damage to leave the EU than to stay in”.
“I hope this opinion is not held more widely across the EU,” Frost tweeted on Saturday in response to the letter. “To see it expressed in this way is clearly very troubling and very problematic in the current context when we are trying to solve many highly sensitive issues, including on the Northern Ireland protocol.”