Boris limits French licenses to protect UK fisherman, prompting France to threaten retaliation.
French officials have threatened reprisal against the United Kingdom after Boris Johnson’s decision to reject fishing permits to three-quarters of small French boats.
Clement Beaune, France’s European Affairs Minister, said Emmanuel Macron’s government was prepared to fight against the UK’s latest Brexit action to deny small French vessels fishing permits. “We understand and share the frustration of our fishermen,” he told RTL, “since it is unbearable not to honor a signed agreement.” To resolve this, we shall negotiate until the very last minute.
“We have made it clear at all levels in the UK that we cannot freely cooperate on other issues while they refuse to respect the negotiated Brexit accord.
“We hope that we will not reach that point, but the Brexit arrangement does provide for retaliatory actions.
“In trade, for example, with British items.
“There are numerous topics on which the British require our assistance in the energy sector, and there is broad consensus.
“If they do not respect the fishing element, we can and will take collective action in the EU.”
On Wednesday, France accused Britain of playing politics with post-Brexit fishing rights after London awarded only 12 small French boats out of 47 applications licenses to fish in its territorial seas.
Britain said it was ready to further discussions with the boats it had rejected, but that they had failed to produce proof of their previous operations in the waters, which was required to continue fishing in the 6-12 nautical mile (nm) zone.
“Our approach has been sensible and completely consistent with our responsibilities in the Trade and Cooperation Pact (TCA),” a UK government spokeswoman said, referring to the UK-EU free trade agreement.
“EU vessels must give evidence of a track record of fishing activities in those seas, as laid forth in the TCA, in the 6-12nm zone.”
Annick Girardin, France’s maritime minister, said Britain was not adhering to the Brexit agreement.
“Despite all of our work together, the British have once again refused to implement the terms of the Brexit agreement,” she said in a statement carried by the Guardian newspaper.
“The British should not hold French fishing hostage for political reasons.”
Britain announced that around 1,700 vessels have been granted fishing licenses in the. “Brinkwire News Summary.”