Fishing: France draws its retaliatory measures against Great Britain


France is preparing to strike cross-border trade from November 2.

France is preparing to start a trade war against Great Britain, in the conflict over fishermen. Mentioned for weeks, a list of retaliatory measures was specified this Wednesday evening. They had been presented Wednesday morning to local elected officials of the regions concerned, Hauts-de-France, Normandy and Brittany. Government spokesman Gabriel Attal made the announcement at the end of the Council of Ministers.

A joint press release from the French Ministry of the Sea and the Secretariat for European Affairs thus clarified the measures taken: from November 2, “Ban on landing of British fishing vessels in designated ports”, that is to say the six French ports where disembarkation is currently taking place, as well as a “Strengthening of controls” health, customs and safety of British ships. Finally, a measure goes further, announcing a particular zeal in the “Checks on lorries to and from the United Kingdom”, whatever their cargo.

SEE AS ​​WELL – In Boulogne-sur-Mer, fishermen face the English refusal to issue fishing authorizations

Half of licenses refused

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal also spoke earlier today of a gradual response, with a possible “Second series of measures”, “With in particular energy measures relating to the supply of electricity for the Channel Islands”, which depend on a submarine cable with France for their supply. If the idea of ​​cutting the power has been raised in the past, it could rather be a tariff increase.

Our patience has limits, hammered Gabriel Attal. We will not let Britain wipe its feet on the Brexit deals.According to him, nearly half of the license applications made by French fishermen have still not been satisfied, despite the provision of documents requested by the British authorities. This concerns small boats fishing in the coastal area 6 to 12 miles off Great Britain and the Channel Islands.

As of September 29, according to the Department of the Sea, there were 75 licenses missing out of 175 requested from the British authorities, and 105 out of 211 requested in Jersey. Guernsey, for its part, granted 64 provisional licenses to French vessels. The British have reportedly given some additional clearances in recent weeks but “we are not at the end of the day“, We estimated on the French side.

On the other hand, across the Channel, it is considered that “98% of fishing licenses have been granted“. A spokesperson for the British Prime Minister assured Wednesday that he had not “no formal contact“With the French government on these retaliatory measures but that London continued”to workOn the review of applications.

Under the Brexit trade deal reached at the end of 2020, European fishermen can continue to operate in UK waters provided they can prove that they previously fished there. The careful study of these files by the English authorities led to the rejection of a large number of them. An attitude which caused the fury of France.

For their part, British fishermen, already battered by the reality of Brexit, regret paying the price for this dispute. According to Barrie Deas, executive director of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organization, the French response, “disproportionate“, Is similar to”gesticulationPolicy and goes beyond the provisions of the Brexit deal. “Trade is a two-way street and it is not in anyone’s interest to weaken it», He believes. British fishermen export two-thirds of their catch, 70% to the European Union, a large part of which goes to France.

Paris sought to obtain the support of the Europeans in this file. While some Member States have shown their solidarity in principle, France is in fact isolated in its counter-attack.

SEE AS ​​WELL – “It’s time to have answers” on post-Brexit fishing licenses, says Annick Girardin

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