Boris & Macron on collision course as France-UK relations sink to lowest since ‘Iraq War’

Jersey: Fisherman criticises France over electricity ‘threat’

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Paris and London sources said disputes over vaccine orders, fishing, migrants and the Northern Ireland protocol have put Mr Macron and Boris Johnson on a collision course. The disputes include a row involving new post-Brexit fishing rights for French fishermen in the British Crown Dependency of Jersey.

After a flotilla of vessels approached the Channel Island in protest against tighter regulations in May, the UK Government sent a Navy patrol vessel to the area.

Tensions have also flared over a surge in migrants crossing the English Channel to the UK from France, with Ministers claiming Paris needed to do more to prevent crossings.

Lord Frost’s plan to renegotiate the Northern Ireland protocol has also caused some upset among the Macron administration.

Meanwhile, Ministers in Paris accused Transport Secretary Grant Shapps of discrimination after the UK kept stricter quarantine measures in place for fully vaccinated travellers arriving in England from France for longer than other parts of Europe.

One Paris diplomatic source claimed some of the rows were “pathetic” and “pointless political games” which have caused “deep rifts between both countries”.

Lord Ricketts, formerly ambassador to France also said “restoring confidence will require a lot of effort” following the events.

Mr Ricketts, who served between 2012 and 2016 added: “The many disagreements that have arisen in recent months have created such a climate of mistrust that one decision cannot undo the damage done.

“Franco-British relations have fallen to an all-time low, a deterioration reminiscent of the deep divisions over the Iraq war in 2003.

“Restoring confidence will require a lot of effort.”

The former head of the diplomatic service also said Brexit was “at the heart of the dispute.”

He claimed President Macron was “one of the European leaders most hostile to the withdrawal from the European Union.”

The Peer continued: “Controversies over-vaccination or quarantine have not helped matters, far from it.

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“Unfortunately, the middle ground has narrowed.”

Looking to the future, Lord Ricketts said he was “optimistic in the medium and long term” and hoped for a swift resolution.

He added: “I hope we have come through the most difficult times and that gradual improvement is on the horizon.”

A UK Government source added that relations “were not perfect” with France currently.

But they stressed they were “working cooperatively” with French counterparts regularly.

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