A spat between the UK and France over fishing rights appears to be getting worse, with neither side helping matters. Certainly, Boris Johnson’s “Donnez-moi un break” did nothing to help and now the French are threatening to make things much worse in the UK by blocking ferries at Calais and reducing electricity supplies.

However, the real trouble in Europe is centred on Poland, where a court ruled this week that EU courts do not have precedence over national law. Taking the initiative in this way was an interesting ploy, but the truth is that most Poles would rather stay in the European Union than ‘Polexit.’

On the other hand, the Polish government is being sorely tested, and we need to look no further than Belarus, Europe’s own North Korea, for the cause of the problem. Minsk has been bringing desperate refugees to the borders of Poland and Lithuania and then pushing them across in an attempt to portray the two EU members of being callous and uncaring in resisting the influx.

Of course, there is no appetite for accepting refugees in Belarus, but that was never on Lukashenko’s agenda. And Poland is well within its rights to protect its borders, which are also the external borders of the European Union.

As the east European winter sets in, aid agencies have reported dozens of deaths among cold and starving migrants, and the finger of blame has been pointed mainly at Poland and Lithuania.

With Brussels taking the Polish court decision as seriously as it takes anything, there is already talk of a de facto Polish secession from the Union.

If I were a betting man I would put serious money on several central and east European countries leaving the union on the issue of migration. For Hungary, Slovakia, Czechia and Slovenia, large-scale immigration is seen as an existential threat.

Not far removed from this serious development is the hand of Putin, the killer in the Kremlin.

PHOTO: Polish troops work on building a barrier with Belarus. The headline above the photo, in the UK’s Guardian, read: ‘Concerns grow over Poland’s treatment of migrants stuck at Belarus border’ Reuters