The United Kingdom has issued an ultimatum to French president Emmanuel Macron to swallow his “unreasonable” threats into a high-profile dispute over fishing rights.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s stampede over fishing rights does not impress the British government. The UK is giving him until tonight to come to his senses. Macron threatens to block British boats, cut off the power supply to Channel Island Jersey and thwart freight traffic in an attempt to obtain licences for some thirty French ships.

The quarrel started last Wednesday with a lot of noise, when French gendarmes boarded a Scottish trawler. The Cornelis Gert Jan, owned by the MacDuff Shellfish Company, fished scallops in the Baie de la Seine. The captain showed the officers his license, but was ordered to follow them to the Port of Le Havre. The British boat is said to be illegally in French waters.

After a five-hour hearing in the presence of his lawyers, the captain was told that his ship remained chained until further notice. The seven-man crew were not allowed to leave the country. A judge fined 75 thousand euros and ordered the ‘skipper’ to appear in court next August. To get the Cornelis Gert Jan back, a deposit of about 150 thousand euros had to be paid.

The British Environment minister George Eustice stated on Tuesday morning that the French maritime authorities had released the fishing boat, but the operator says he knows nothing about it. According to a spokesman from MacDuff Shelfisch Company, the cutter is not allowed to leave Le Havre and there will be a hearing on Wednesday. Websites where shipping traffic is monitored show that the boat is located in the French port. French media reported earlier that the two parties will continue to discuss their dispute in Paris on Thursday.

The British government confirmed that the stranded ship had the correct papers. Due to a clerical error, that information was mistakenly not on the official list. The incident had little to do with bureaucratic wrangling. The French, according to minister Clément Beaune of European affairs, were on a warpath. ,”Zero tolerance”, he said. ,We have to put our fist on the table, the only language the British government understands.”

The hard act was followed by a set of demands. Macron wants the UK to give more French fishermen access to British coastal waters. If Johnson refuses to give in to this, he will not shy away from revenge. The fact that the quarrel is about only a handful of small boats makes the eyebrows frown. Moreover, the British claim that the applicants do not comply with the rules.

In order to be eligible for a licence, companies must provide, among other things, logbooks and GPS coordinates to prove that they fished in the areas concerned in the four years prior to brexit. On the basis of these ‘historical rights’, the UK gives permission to boats. The British indicate that the refused French could not prove any claim to this.

Much love was never lost between the UK and France, but this riot draws the blood from the nails of British politicians. The Telegraph, the House newspaper of the Conservative Party, calls Macron a ‘mini-Napoleon’, referring to his short length and autocratic features. A response from foreign minister Liz Truss shows that she feels the same way.

Macron, it is scornful, tries to get into the flattery of right-wing voters a few months before the elections. To remain president, he does not shy away from populist tricks. The UK reinforces the fact that the’pint-sized ‘ Napoleon receives little support from the EU. If he doesn’t listen, Johnson will initiate an arbitration mechanism. This system, part of the Brexit agreement, has to push Macron back into his basket.

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