is bracing for a showdown with at the G20 summit over the French fishing row.
The PM and Mr Macron are due to come face-to-face in Rome later as the bitter dispute risks escalating even further.
In a round of broadcast interviews this morning, Mr Johnson warned that the UK could trigger legal repercussions in the post-Brexit trade agreement as soon as next week.
But the chief of Calais port insisted this morning that Britain faces ‘disaster’ if Mr Macron follows through on a threat to block British trawlers from French ports.
In the latest stoking of the row, French PM Jean Castex has written to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen seeking backing for a new hardline stance against the UK.
Paris has so far threatened to increase checks on British boats, to initiate a ‘go-slow’ strategy with Calais customs arrangements, stop UK fishing vessels from landing in French ports and to increase tariffs on energy bills in Jersey.
They are demanding that Britain grants more licenses to French fishermen to access British waters.
Asked about the situation this morning, Mr Johnson said: ‘We are very keen to work with our friends and partners on all these issues.If another European country wants to break the TCA – the Trade and Co-operation agreement – then obviously we will have to take steps to protect UK interests.
‘If there is a breach of the treaty or we think there is a breach of the treaty then we will do what is necessary to protect British interests.’
Mr Johnson and Mr Macron are holding talks about the Iran nuclear programme along with Joe Biden and Angela Merkel in Rome this afternoon – and will meet one-on-one at the summit tomorrow.
Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron are due to come face-to-face in Rome later as the bitter dispute risks escalating even further
The Cornelis Gert Jan was ordered to divert to Le Havre after French authorities said it did not have a licence.Pictured in the port today
Britain must be punished for Brexit to show other EU states that ‘leaving is more damaging than remaining’, France’s prime minister has said in a furious letter. In what is a further escalation of Britain’s ongoing row with it’s Channel neighbour over fishing rights, Jean Castex (pictured) wrote to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday in an attempt to get backing for a new hard line stance against the UK
The fishing row stepped up a gear yesterday after a UK trawler was detained by France amid fears the friction could spark a full-blown trade war. The Cornelis Gert Jan was ordered to divert to Le Havre after French authorities said it did not have a licence.
The trawler’s boss claimed his vessel was being used as a ‘pawn’ in the fishing dispute and blasted the ‘politically motivated’ French.
President and chairman of the ports of Calais and Boulogne-sur-Mer, Jean-Marc Puissesseau, said the row and subsequent threats over fishing rights were ‘ridiculous’.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Puissesseau said there would be ‘terrible’ consequences if France carried out its threat of blocking British trawlers from French ports over the decision to deny ‘only 40 little boats’ licences to fish in UK waters.
‘If no agreement can be found, it will be a drama, it will be a disaster in your country because the trucks will not cross (the border),’ he said.
‘I think it is a ridiculous point and I hope that the British will find an agreement, a solution to get out of this point.’
He added: ‘For us in Calais, I think it is on Tuesday, we have to control more trucks getting out of our port and trucks coming from your country.
‘But it will be terrible for both sides of the Channel: for you, for us, for the ports, the fishermen in your country, for the fishermen in our country.And that’s only for 40 little boats which are not allowed to fish in your country, so I hope there will be an agreement on that over the weekend.’
Mr Johnson has stressed that the Government will do ‘whatever is necessary’ to ensure that British fishing fleets can go about their ‘lawful’Mercedes limousine from Paris, as one confirmed: ‘We are here to see the British nationals.’
It comes as France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune has been posturing about tough action by insisting the only language Britain understands is ‘the language of force’.
Photographs showed the crew of the high-jacked fishing boat still remained in good spirits in Le Harve on Friday despite facing a £70,000 fine for allegedly poaching in French waters
Speaking to reporters en route to the G20 summit in Rome tonight, Boris Johnson (pictured) stressed that he did not believe French President Emmanuel Macron himself – who is facing a presidential election battle next spring – was making threats
Asked about claims France is ready to disrupt trade over Christmas in the dispute, Mr Johnson said: ‘We will do whatever is necessary to ensure UK interests. But I haven’t heard that from our French friends. I would be surprised if they adopted that approach.’ (Pictured: Macron)
Mr Johnson also said that ‘France is one of our best oldest closest allies, friends and partners’ (pictured with Macron)
Boris and Carrie Johnson were pictured arriving in Italy Friday night for the G20 summit in Rome, donning black face masks featuring a Union Jack
Officials of the British Embassy were pictured arriving today at the British trawler detained in Le Havre’s harbour, northern France
British Embassy Staff boarded the Cornelis Gert Jan to meet with the British crew, who were advised to stay onboard for their own safety as the row with France continues
The British boat’s detention comes amid a flare-up of the ongoing dispute over fishing rights. This was sparked by licensing rules for EU fishing boats wanting to operate in waters around Britain and the Channel Islands
Lord Frost today warned Brussels that Britain will carry out ‘rigorous checks’ on all EU fishing boats in UK waters if France goes through with threats to block British vessels from French ports (Pictured: British Embassy staff meet with crew of seized British trawler)
British Embassy staff from Paris with the fishermen and French lawyer onboard the scallop trawler Cornelis-Gert Jan
The detaining of the ship comes as France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune has been posturing about tough action by insisting the only language Britain understands is ‘the language of force’ (Pictured: British Embassy staff with the crew of the trawler)
Man believed to be the captain of the scallop trawler Cornelis-Gert Jan which has been impounded by the French Gendarmerie Maritime for ‘illegally fishing’ in the Bay of the Seine in french waters
The crew of the trawler (pictured) were warned to stay onboard for their safety as the fishing fallout between Britain and France continues
The man believed to be the captain of the British trawler was pictured being approached by media in northern France
The reported captain was seen walking with his lawyer after his crew were threatened with a £70,000 fine
British Embassy staff had arrived in a Mercedes limousine from Paris, as one confirmed: ‘We are here to see the British nationals’
Speaking to reporters en route to the G20 summit in Rome tonight, Mr Johnson stressed that he did not believe Mr Macron himself – who is facing a presidential election battle next spring – was making threats.
Mr Johnson said: ‘France is one of our best oldest closest allies, friends and partners.
‘The ties that unite us and bind us together are far stronger than the turbulence that currently exists in the relationship.
‘That is what I will say to Emmanuel who is a friend I have known for many years.’
But in an apparent dig at Mr Beaune and other allies of the French president, he said: ‘There may be people on both sides of the Channel who may think they have an interest in promoting disharmony between the UK and France, promoting the impression of disharmony between the UK and France.
‘I don’t think Emmanuel shares that perspective personally at all.’
Mr Johnson said: ‘On the particular issues that we have, we are puzzled about what is going on. We fear that there may be a breach of the terms of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement implicit on what is happening and some of the things that are being said. We stand by to take the appropriate action.’
Sailors aboard the Cornelis Gert Jan trawler vowed to toast the Queen with Scotch Whisky from their Union Jack mugs
The Cornelis Gert Jan (pictured on Friday) was ordered to divert to Le Havre after French authorities said it did not have a licence
It comes after Environment Secretary George Eustice today urged France to drop its ‘unacceptable’ fishing row threats. Pictured: The crew appeared to be in high spirits onboard the scallop trawler this afternoon
Asked about claims France is ready to disrupt trade over Christmas in the dispute, Mr Johnson said: ‘We will do whatever is necessary to ensure UK interests. But I haven’t heard that from our French friends. I would be surprised if they adopted that approach.’
It comes after Lord Frost today warned Brussels that Britain will carry out ‘rigorous checks’ on all EU fishing boats in UK waters if goes through with threats to block British vessels from French ports.
A rumbling row over post-Brexit fishing licences escalated this week as Paris threatened action if the UK does not grant permission to more French boats to work in British waters.
French ministers have said they could block British boats from ports and tighten checks on vessels if the UK does not give in by Tuesday next week.
Lord Frost, the Government’s chief, met with his EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic in today for talks on improving the Protocol.
But the fishing row was also brought up as Lord Frost set out his ‘concerns about the unjustified measures’ threatened by France.
Lord Frost today warned Brussels that Britain will carry out ‘rigorous checks’ on all EU fishing boats in UK waters if France goes through with threats to block British vessels from French ports
Lord Frost, the Government’s Brexit chief, met with his EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic in London today for talks on improving the Northern Ireland Protocol
Britain was last night preparing to retaliate after a UK trawler – the Cornelis Gert Jan (pictured right in in Le Havre, France, October 29, 2021) – was detained by France amid fears the fishing row could spark a full-blown trade war
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The minister said if France goes ahead with its plans then the EU would be in breach of the Brexit deal and the UK would retaliate by rolling out tougher enforcement action in British waters.
The UK would also look to trigger formal ‘dispute settlement proceedings’ against the bloc.
A UK Government spokesman said after Friday’s meeting: ‘Lord Frost also set out to the Vice President our concerns about the unjustified measures announced by France earlier this week to disrupt UK fisheries and wider trade, to threaten energy supplies, and to block further cooperation between the UK and the EU, for example on the Horizon research programme.
‘Lord Frost made clear that, if these actions were implemented as planned on 2 November, they would put the European Union in breach of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).
‘The Government is accordingly considering the possibility, in those circumstances, of launching dispute settlement proceedings under the TCA, and of other practical responses, including implementing rigorous enforcement processes and checks on EU fishing activity in UK territorial waters, within the terms of the TCA.’
Crew members of the scallop trawler Cornelis Gert Jan are pictured this morning in Le Havre shortening the mooring line
A European Commission spokesman said after the meeting: ‘The Vice President encouraged the UK to intensify discussions with the European Commission and France in order to swiftly resolve the issue of pending fishing licences.All French vessels entitled to a licence should receive one.’
The focus of today’s meeting was on negotiations relating to improving post-Brexit border rules in Northern Ireland.
The UK said this week’s talks on the protocol had been ‘conducted in a constructive spirit’ but the ‘gaps between us remain substantial’ and more talks will take place in Brussels next week.