‘Nationalism is war!’ French MEP lashes out at UK in ferocious rant on Brexit spat
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French MEP Pierre Karleskind launched a scathing attack on the UK over the latest Brexit-fuelled spat between Britain and France over access to the UK’s rich fishing grounds last week.
He blasted: “The European Union is peace!
“Brexit leads to the first deployment of warships so close to our shores in decades!
“Nationalism is war.”
The French MEP was reacting to an article published in the French daily Generation Libre by novelist Gaspart Koenig, who warned that Brexit turned the UK into a “recluse, nasty and brutal” nation-state.
He said: “Having become sovereign again, being accountable only to their own citizens, nation-states are returning to the simplest and best-tested way of settling conflicts: the use of force.
“We will gain nothing by turning Europe into a state entity like any other, ‘recluse, nasty and brutal’ in the great game of international Realpolitik.”
It comes as Paris has said it will delay the financial services deal until Boris Johnson grants EU fishermen fair access to British waters, a source familiar with the French move said on Wednesday.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said on Thursday that the French move was yet another example of the bloc issuing threats at any sign of difficulty.
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Since Britain completed its exit from the EU last year, relations between the two sides have soured, with both sides accusing the other of acting in bad faith over fishing and trade with Northern Ireland just months after signed a trade deal.
The latest row saw France and Britain send patrol vessels to the Channel island of Jersey as French trawlers protested there.
Mr Johnson’s spokesman said: “We’re taking a consistent, evidence-based approach to licensing EU vessels using information supplied by the European Commission.
“This is another example of the EU issuing threats at any sign of difficulties instead of using the mechanisms of our new treaty to solve problems.
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“We have always been clear that an agreement on financial services is in the best interest of both sides.”
Britain’s huge financial services sector was largely cut off from the EU, its biggest export customer, on December 31 when the UK completed its departure from the bloc.
Britain and the EU have agreed in principle on a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between financial regulators, but it has yet to be formally ratified by the bloc’s 27 member countries, including France.
“We will resume our equivalence assessments once the regulatory cooperation framework is in place and do so on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the UK’s regulatory intention,” the EU’s financial services chief Mairead McGuinness said on Tuesday.
Banks in Britain say they don’t expect the EU to grant meaningful direct access anytime soon and that the time is better spent on making the City more globally attractive.
French fishermen say Jersey, a self-governing British Crown Dependency, unilaterally imposed restrictions on the waters they could fish in when it issued licenses in late April.
Jersey has since proposed delaying new post-Brexit restrictions on French fishermen until the end of July, French Seas Minister Annick Girardin told parliament on Tuesday.
“New proposal by Jersey: We’re not there yet,” the minister later tweeted.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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