France 'FINALLY releasing seized British trawler' amid climbdown

France 'FINALLY releasing seized British trawler' amid climbdown
France 'FINALLY releasing seized British trawler' amid climbdown

France is finally freeing a seized British trawler as ministers hailed Emmanuel Macron 'stepping back' from his retaliation threats in the bitter fishing row. 

Environment Secretary George Eustice said the scallop vessel Cornelis Gert Jan 'has now been released' after being accused of fishing without a licence and detained at Le Havre. 

The apparent move came as Mr Macron said he would return to the negotiating table with Britain rather than follow through on his extraordinary sabre-rattling.

He has shelved threats to block British trawlers from landing their catches in French ports, reduce electricity to Jersey and tighten customs checks until at least Thursday.

But despite the lull in hostilities, French fishing chiefs have warned trawlermen to stay away from British waters in case the spat blows up again.

Mr Eustice told Sky News this morning: 'We welcome the fact France has stepped back from the threats it was making last Wednesday.

'We've always said we want to de-escalate this and always said we have an ever-open door to discuss any further evidence France or the EU might have on any additional vessels they'd like to have licensed.

'France has clearly taken a decision not to implement some of the decisions they threatened last Wednesday, we very much welcome that but I think there's going to be a very important meeting on Thursday between Lord frost and his opposite number, not just on fisheries but a wider range of issues as well.'  

At the Cop26 summit yesterday, Boris Johnson and Mr Macron shared a frosty greeting on stage in front of other world leaders

At the Cop26 summit yesterday, Boris Johnson and Mr Macron shared a frosty greeting on stage in front of other world leaders

Environment Secretary George Eustice said the scallop vessel Cornelis (pictured) 'has now been released' after being accused of fishing without a licence and detained at Le Havre

Environment Secretary George Eustice said the scallop vessel Cornelis (pictured) 'has now been released' after being accused of fishing without a licence and detained at Le Havre

On the situation with the Cornelis, Mr Eustice said: 'I understand that vessel has now been released and I think there's going to need to be some further discussions, clearly there was an administrative error at some point. 

'We haven't quite got to the bottom of that but that vessel I understand has been released.' 

On the surface the UK had refused to budge in the dispute over fishing rights, with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss adamant Britain would 'not roll over'.

However, there have been gradually more being granted, with UK authorities insisting more evidence has been supplied that they used waters before Brexit.

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