UK-France fishing row due to Macron looking for 'handy enemy' in Britain for next election

Speaking to GB News on Friday political expert Laurie Laird claimed the fishing row serves as a useful tool for President Macron’s electoral ambitions if he is to stand a chance against his rivals in next Spring’s presidential elections.

Ms Laird explained: “President Macron is facing what could be an extremely difficult reelection campaign.

“Macron’s poll ratings have never been particularly good other than a honeymoon period right after he took office.

He is facing some real struggles from both sides: from the left and the right.”

She went on to explain how a number of candidates that have emerged as runners in the Presidential election campaign have pushed Macron “into a corner” where he now has to prove to the French people that he can be trusted to lead France.

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Ms Laird noted: “He has to appear to be to be fighting for French national interest and he has to sort of come iup with an enemy.”

She suggested how post-Brexit Britain is therefore a “very handy enemy” for President Macron to use in such circumstances and the ongoing fishing row provides the Frenchman with ample opportunity to bolster his electoral rhetoric ahead of next years elections.

She concluded: “So I think whatever we hear from Macron over the next couple of months: look through the prism of a presidential election.

“He is talking to a domestic audience here as much as he is talking to an international audience.”

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The comments come as France is preparing to announce wide-ranging punishments against the UK as the latest fishing row between the two countries explodes.

The French authorities are furious by the UK Government’s refusal to grant what it believes to be the full number of licenses for their boats to operate in Britain’s territorial waters. 

It comes as French government spokesman Gabriel Attal warned: “We put ourselves in a position to take sanctions as soon as the agreements are not respected”.

He slammed how the punishments could be applied as early as “during the month of November” before adding “on October 30 that we will see if until the end they have not respected the agreement that has been signed!”

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While in a warning shot to Britain, Mr Attal threatened: “There are several types of sanctions that are possible – on electricity tariffs, on access to ports, on customs issues.”

The row burst open in September after the UK said it had approved just 12 of the 47 applications it had received from small boats in France which sent the French into a rage. The chaos prompted French President Jean Castex to even threaten the UK by cutting “bi-lateral collaborations” on trade, immigration and migration.

But Britain has denied that it has not been playing fairly while UK fishing licensing bodies have hit back claiming that a raft of French fishing boats did not correctly submit the evidence required to prove they have fished in British waters before Brexit.

This is a requirement under the new fishing agreements decided following the Withdrawal Agreement if they wish to continue fishing in the 6- to 12-nautical-mile zone of Britain’s waters.

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