Barnier warns that London must live up to its post-Brexit commitments

Michel Barnier pictured during a photo session on May 11, 2021 in Paris afp_tickers

This content was published on May 11, 2021 – 12:52

(AFP)

The European Union negotiator on Brexit told Britain on Tuesday that it must fully implement the terms of its exit from the union, especially with regard to fisheries and Northern Ireland, or else it risks losing credibility on the global stage.

“The signature is important,” Michel Barnier told reporters from the European Union, “It reflects the confidence that the UK must continue to earn by fulfilling its obligations.”

“This is not what you do in Northern Ireland today, and it is not what you do with fishermen,” he added.

He urged London to abide by the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union on these two crucial issues “exactly as they were formulated in the October 2019 and December 2020 agreements.”

Tensions over fishing flared up last week when French boats massed off the island of Jersey in the English Channel, claiming they were denied a license to fish off its shores, despite Brexit promising to maintain access.

British Navy ships and French patrol boats were sent, and although the French fishermen withdrew, it remains unclear whether Jersey and Britain would implement new rules that Brussels had not agreed to.

“We have a serious problem with the island of Jersey, which I don’t understand, unless it’s a matter of unwillingness,” Barnier said.

“There are likely to be consequences,” he added.

The European Union has already initiated legal proceedings against London to unilaterally delay it for six months in imposing customs controls on goods arriving in Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom.

The system aims to prevent returns from the land border with Ireland, but keeps Northern Ireland subject to European Union rules on goods.

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