The EU has clashed with the UK over fisheries – and it was revealed during Brexit talks that Macron was left ‘speechless with rage’ at prospect of losing UK waters.
The claim was made by the then-Environment Secretary Michael Gove as he boasted that a fisheries deal between the EU and UK during Brexit talks would shut out French fishermen and restore Britain’s independent control of its waters. Mr Gove, a staunch Brexiteer, said in November 2018: “The truth is that as an independent coastal state we will be able to decide who comes into our waters and on what terms. “[Macron] was speechless with rage on Sunday when he discovered that this withdrawal agreement and future political declaration would mean that France would not have access to our waters save on our terms.
“His anger should be a cause for celebration across this House.”
As Mr Gove gloated to MPs, he also dubbed Mr Macron a “Jupiterian president”.
The statement came as then Prime Minister Theresa May secured a deal with the EU27, but Mr Macron went on to make demands for continued access.
The French President said: “We as 27 have a clear position on fair competition, on fish, on the subject of the EU’s regulatory autonomy, and that forms part of our lines for the future relationship talks.
”It is a lever, because it is in our mutual interest to have this future relationship.”
Mr Macron even threatened to push for the UK to be tied to a customs union should the demands not be met.
Mrs May swiped back, reiterating that the UK “will be deciding who has access to our waters”.
She said: “I looked at the remarks that President Macron made.
“I think what he needs to remember is that if we enter into the backstop, then we will be outside of the Common Fisheries Policy and we will be deciding who has access to our waters.
“So whose fishermen would be able to fish in UK waters?”
The Brexit row over fisheries has not found a resolution two years later – even with the UK now out of the bloc.
This is because Prime Minister Boris Johnson must now negotiate a trading arrangement with France and the rest of the EU.
Michel Barnier, the bloc’s negotiator in trade talks with Boris Johnson, has said that without EU access to UK fishing grounds, Britain will be denied access to European markets.
He said last month: “Let me remind you that most of the British processed fisheries products are traded, are exported, are sent to us, to the European market.
”So fisheries is part of a package as regards our trade relations, which are to be discussed, and that package is one you can’t break up. There will be no ambiguity at all around that.”
French President Macron has also vowed to “fight” for fishermen in his country.
He said last month: “I want to tell our fishermen that I will fight for them. If we do not get the same access as today, we will seek compensation.
“I will not let our fishermen pay for a British vote they could do nothing about.”