.@DavidGHFrost & @CBeaune will meet in Paris today to talk fish. What's the latest state of play & mood on 🐟? 1/
Senior UKG officials remain of the view the evidence presented by Fr Govt remains weak - despite low threshold test they're being asked to meet (in English waters, evidence of fishing at least one day in each of the four years between 2012-16) 2/
The UKG also doesn't want to be seen to be responding to blackmail (choking Calais-Dover strait; in past, threats to interrupt electricity supply to Jersey). There's also a belief that other member states (& Commission) don't fully support the French 3/
This is contradicted by Fr fish sources & reports which say progress is being made in Bxl on question of rules for recognition of “replacement boats”: new vessels which replaced those known to have fished in disputed waters. Jersey has started to recognise them in recent weeks 4/
The French hope the UKG will now start to do the same for English waters. This could substantially reduce the number of refused licences - & pave the way for a deal. UKG numbers published last night show another 37 licences are under consideration. This is THE key to a deal 5/
Still, there's a strong view on UK side that 1) there's an assertion of rights where none previously existed & 2) Macron hasn't fully prepared his fishing communities for the fact Brexit is going to reduce their catch & access to UK waters 6/
This last point is telling. The Brexit treaty was supposed to preserve – not reduce – previous EU access to 6-12 miles zones which is the source of dispute with France. So a deal is likely, yes. But prob still has some way to go

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More from @Mij_Europe

5 Nov
The UK is going to invoke Article 16. They'll argue it's surgical - "it's only Articles 5 & 7" etc. But EU will (rightly) see it as nuclear

I expect no intermediate step (tariffs). Just an immediate, emergency EU Council & political decision to *suspend* the UK-EU trade deal 1/
This, which is = "No deal", won't come into effect until 2023 (+ 1yr). Put differently: next year will see a re-run of Brexit (renegotiation of Irish border issue, with threat of no deal tariffs looming in the background). Can you actually believe we're heading back there??! 2/
Some say @BorisJohnson will bottle it & do a deal. Maybe. But the gaps between the two sides are massive, not just on ECJ. For eg: UKG officials say they can't stand up @EU_Commission claim that its proposals substantially reduce burden on biz trading GB-NI by 80% 3/
Read 8 tweets
30 Oct
The spin and translation imposed on the French PM’s letter is misleading. The bulk of the letter - 98% to use a topical figure – is asking Brussels to ensure that the UK respects its post Brexit deal 1/
The last line of the first page says it “is essential to  demonstrate to European public opinion that respect for formal commitments is not negotiable and that  leaving the Union has more disadvantages than remaining within it.” The first part of this sentence has been cut from..
..the translation to make it sound harsher. Castex is not calling for Britain to be “damaged by Brexit”. He is saying that European public opinion must see that the UK is made to respect its legal promises and therefore understand that leaving the EU is more painful than positive
Read 4 tweets
29 Oct
Late to this long, in-depth tour de force by Elisabeth Zerofsky into why Tucker Carlson (and other US conservative radicals) favour Hungary's Viktor Orban in NYT Magazine. I do, however, think the piece is far too soft on both Carlson and his Magyar hero 1/
The piece does note that Carlson “evinced little familiarity with the internal affairs of Hungary” - which is true. But the thing is, he made no attempt to find out 2/
Although he certainly talked about seemingly random meetings with Orban sympathisers during his week-long stay in Orbanistan, he strangely failed to find any opponents, and this despite Budapest being the largest centre of anti-Orban, liberal-left supporters in the country 3/
Read 10 tweets
26 Oct
The EU's rule of law crisis with Poland is now not so much an issue of East vs West, but West vs West—with Angela Merkel directly squaring off against her Northern European allies over how to resolve the stand-off—& a weak European Commission President caught in the middle 1/
In the run up to last week’s EUCO, it wasn't even clear whether the issue would feature on the leader’s agenda. @eucopresident proposed a 10-min slot to allow @MorawieckiM @vonderleyen & @MinPres to intervene - something I understand the Chancellery pushed hard to kill 2/
As it happens, Poland/RoL is so controversial every leader intervened. The Polish threat is essentially: ‘Give us money without conditions so we can peacefully build an autocracy within the EU or we will wreck your Union’. Morawiecki’s intervention at EP was particularly shocking
Read 25 tweets
22 Oct
Every day brings a new French opinion poll and the presidential election is still 6 months away. Today’s poll is more interesting than most – the second deep dive by @lemondefr, Ispos and Sciences Po into a big, permanent sample of over 16,000 people 1/

On the surface, the results more or less match other recent polls, which are based on much smaller samples. Macron is at 24% in first round voting intentions, the xenophobic pundit Eric Zemmour is second on 16-16.5%, Marine Le Pen third on about 15% 2/
The Le Monde mega-poll – the first since April – also confirms that Xavier Bertrand, president of the northern French region, has the most nationwide support of the contenders in the closed primary of the centre-right party, Les Républicains, on 4 Dec 3/
Read 8 tweets
21 Oct
Has the @ZemmourEric bubble burst? Who knows - but it’s no longer floating upwards. A new poll this afternoon by OpinionWay for Les Echos puts the xenophobic pundit at 13% of voting intentions in 1st round of Fr pres elex in April. Other recent surveys have put him at 14-17% 1/
Poll below. Rumours earlier this week of an unpublished poll putting Zemmour at 21% have proved unfounded. After tripling his support in a month, Zemmour’s score has scarcely moved in the last fortnight. Has he reached his ceiling? Too early to be sure 2/

The Opinionway poll puts @EmmanuelMacron at top of 1st round voting intentions on 25% - roughly his score in all recent polls. The traditional Far Right in shape of Le Pen comes second on 18%, followed by Zemmour and poss centre right standard bearer Xavier Bertrand on 12% 3/
Read 4 tweets

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