Brexit tensions between France and the UK have persisted since the 2016 referendum, and haven’t waned despite a trade deal being reached between Brussels and London. When the deal was eventually secured, the French President Emmanuel Macron claimed Brexit was built on “lies”. He said: “The United Kingdom remains our neighbour, but also our friend and ally. “This choice to leave Europe, this Brexit, was the child of the European malaise and of many lies and false promises.”
His predecessor, Francois Hollande, took a similarly dismissive stance on Brexit, demanding that the UK pay a price for leaving the EU.
Mr Hollande’s comments came in October 2016 as then Prime Minister Theresa May prepared for withdrawal negotiations with Brussels.
The former French President said: “The UK has decided to do a Brexit … Well, then we must go all the way through the the UK’s willingness to leave the EU. We have to have this firmness.
“If not, we would jeopardise the fundamental principles of the EU. Other countries would want to leave the EU to get the supposed advantages without the obligations.
“There must be a threat, there must be a risk, there must be a price. Otherwise we will be in a negotiation that cannot end well.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also voiced a hardened position following the referendum, warning European business not to press for “comfortable” deals in the Brexit negotiations that could undermine basic single market principles, such as freedom of movement.
The Brexit process only grew increasingly hostile throughout the years of negotiations.
France also warned that the UK must not be better off outside the EU, including in June when this sentiment was delivered by Mr Macron’s allies to leaders in Brussels.
Jean-Pierre Pont, a member of Parliament for Mr Macron’s party who represents the town of Boulogne on the English Channel, said: “The [European] Union must continue to guarantee that fishing won’t be sacrificed to save other sectors.
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As Brexit negotiations reached their climax in December last year, President Macron even threatened to veto a deal amid rows over fishing, trade and borders.
Last month, French vessels were warned they could be banned from fishing in Jersey waters as a feud continued between their respective governments.
Following the Brexit trade talks, a new set of rules will be implemented in May.
This will mean French vessels will have to prove they have fished in the Channel Islands for ten days in any of the last three years in order to be granted a licence.