Saturday, December 4

France takes the first retaliatory measures against the United Kingdom for the fisheries dispute

The British fishing vessel held in the French port of Le Havre for lacking a license, this Thursday.

After several weeks of crossing statements, France has taken action. The French Ministry of the Sea announced overnight from Wednesday to Thursday sanctioning measures against two British fishing boats. One of them received a fine for “hindering a control” and the other, who “was not on the list of licenses given to the United Kingdom”, was forced to change route and was taken to the puerto of Le Havre (northwest of French territory), where still held this Thursday.

They represent the first retaliatory actions taken by the French Administration against UK fishing vessels, accused of not respecting the Brexit deal in this matter, something that the British authorities deny. In fact, the Executive led by Emmanuel Macron had already warned on Wednesday at noon that “would prohibit landing of British seafood “if London did not change its position.

Specifically, he threatened “a landing ban of British fishing boats “in the six main French ports of the Atlantic coast, with a” reinforcement of customs and health controls “of ships and with more restrictive controls of trucks coming or going to the United Kingdom. These measures would enter into force the November 2.

Paris accused London of breach agreements signed last year. He reproached him for not granting French fishermen the licenses set by the commercial pact post-Brexit, whose chapter on fisheries was one of the most difficult to agree on. The British authorities announced at the end of September that they had granted 12 fishing licenses, of the 47 requested by France, to French fishing vessels of less than 12 meters. The island of Jersey, a dependency of the British crown but with an autonomous government, also rejected 75 fishing licenses to Gallic vessels. Some measures that filled the patience of the French authorities.

“Language of force”

“Now we must speak the language of force, since I fear that, unfortunately, the British Government only understands things like that”, has assured the French Minister of European Affairs, Clément Beaune, on the recent retaliatory measures adopted by France . Under the post-Brexit deal, European fishmongers can access British waters if they show that they already exploited those resources in the past. In the case of small boats, without geolocation systems, it is more difficult for them to provide proof of this. According to the Gallic authorities, London takes advantage of this in bad faith and denies them licenses.

“We will not be able to move forward with any other aspect of European cooperation with the UK without restore trust and fully implement the signed agreements, “defended Beaune.” Obviously It’s disappointing and our country has fulfilled all its obligations “of the post-Brexit agreement, it has declared, for its part, the interior minister british, Priti Patel, informs Begoña Arce.

The fishing dispute result a particularly sensitive matter in France, taking into account the symbolic role of this sector and the current pre-campaign context of the 2022 presidential election. However, what worries London and Brussels most about the post-Brexit turmoil is the Northern Ireland protocol, which the Boris Johnson executive wants to renegotiate.

These fishery discrepancies occur in a tense moment between Paris and London, fueled also by other issues. In addition to the access of French fishermen to British waters, both executives disagree on the arrival of migrants to British territory through the English Channel, which this summer reached record figures and for which London blames Paris, despite harsh police controls in the Calais area. Their ties were also deteriorated by the submarine crisis and the signing of the AUKUS pact between Canberra, Washington and London. The unique Franco-British relations are not at their best.

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