France sees this as an opportunity to make an example of the UK

With a number of French boats waiting on additional fishing permits, the French government has threatened not only to block British boats from docking in its waters, but also to keep British trucks from unloading goods at the ports of Calais and Bolougne. It’s also threatened to restrict electricity to the Channel Islands, which is dependent on France for its energy supply.

French prime minister Jean Castex elevated the dispute to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Oct. 28 with a letter indicating that the disagreement was about more than just access to fishing waters. Castex warned that if the UK remained “non-cooperative” on such matters, it could “set a precedent for the future,” potentially threatening the EU’s credibility and capacity to defend its rights when it comes to international agreements.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson called France’s retaliatory threats “completely unjustified,” while foreign secretary Truss suggested a less noble factor might be driving the spat: Facing an election next year, president Emmanuel Macron could probably use the support of the country’s fishermen.

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