POST-BREXIT tensions between the UK and EU have been described as “disturbing and concerning” by the chair of one of the European Parliament’s major committees.
She said she regretted “deeply” that British democracy was “distancing itself” from respecting international law and was not delivering what it had committed to on fisheries.
Loiseau’s comments came in an interview with The Parliament magazine, in which she said: “The British Government seems reluctant to face the consequences of the Brexit decision, which it was eager to promote.
“Tensions in Northern Ireland are high and the UK authorities, instead of looking for pragmatic solutions, blames the EU and the agreement they negotiated and signed.”
Turning to recent tensions in fishing waters around Jersey, when the UK threatened to send Royal Navy ships to deal with French trawlers, she said: “On fisheries, the UK isn’t delivering what it committed to, creating undue obstacles for European fishermen who have been fishing in the same waters for centuries.
“This cannot go on like that without a proportionate reaction of the EU, which is foreseen in the provisions of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).
“I deeply regret that the British democracy, which I have always admired, is currently distancing itself from keeping its word and respecting international law. I also regret that despite common threats, the British Government chose not to include foreign policy, security and defence in the scope of the TCA.
“I sincerely hope that this mistake will be fixed in the future. We may have differences with the UK, but London is still in Europe and the world hasn’t become a safer place.”
There were some who thought that Brexit would be a harbinger of mass exodus from the EU, but Loiseau said she did not expect to see any more countries leaving and did not consider Euroscepticism as a growing threat to Europe.
“I see populist leaders who try to blame Europe and follow narratives which can only serve Europe’s rivals, but I don’t see them being successful,” she said.
“In Italy and in France, far-right activists don’t dare anymore to praise Brexit and to ask for the end of the EU or the Euro.”
However, Loiseau did accept that things had to improve within the bloc, telling the magazine that “a better Europe is both possible and necessary”.
On the subject of next year’s French presidential election, and the threat that far-right leader Marine Le Pen poses to President Emmanuel Macron, Loiseau admitted the near collapse of centre-right and centre-left parties in France was extremely “worrisome”.
She said: “Instead of trying to reinvent themselves, they bash the government daily and forget that the real danger comes from the far-right.
“I entered politics to fight against Marine Le Pen and her party, because I felt they would draw my country into decline and turmoil if they came to power.”
As we all head into the second year of the pandemic, the former French diplomat said the perception of China in particular had changed during the crisis.
It had gone from a reliable trading partner of vital goods to a regime that did its utmost to silence whistleblowers when the outbreak began in Wuhan, which demonstrated a deliberate absence of transparency on the source of the virus.
She added: “Arrogant public diplomacy, disinformation efforts and sanctions against MEPs; the Chinese authorities did nothing to win hearts in Europe and pushed a climate of lack of trust. Today, discussions about 5G in Europe are very different to what they were 18 months ago.”