The Anglo-French dispute over hunting licenses began to boil over again. The French Fisheries Association announced a ban on the movement of goods through the Eurotun Tunnel to Great Britain on Friday.
In addition, it is planned to prevent ferries from docking at French ports on the English Channel. On Thursday, the association said that was a “warning shot”.
The fishermen want to close the freight crossing in the Eurotun tunnel on the French side for “a few hours”. Ferries wanting to enter the ports of Saint Malo, Oysterham and Calais will also be stopped.
“We don’t want handouts, we just want our licenses,” said association president Gerard Rometty.
The British government responded “with disappointment” to the “threats”. A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on France to “ensure that there is no illegal business and that trade is not compromised”.
France had last promised to defend its fishermen.
At home during a trip to northern France, the Minister for Maritime Affairs, Annick Girardin, made clear to Fischer that the executive in a fishing licensing dispute with the British government “would in no way concede.”
A few days ago, Girardin announced “plans to withdraw from the fleet” to compensate for French ships that were unable to obtain licenses to sail in British waters.
She said “an amount of 40-60 million euros” could be put on the table. But the announcement sparked criticism that the government was not defending its fishermen.
“The British interpretation of our licenses is unacceptable and does not reflect the goodwill of France,” Girardin said, adding that “80% of the licenses have been settled”. “But I’ve always said no one should be left out,” she stressed.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also promised on Sunday (November 21) to fight for “license after license, boat after boat”.
“This is a test for the UK against the EU and it should demand that the EU comply with the agreement,” he said, adding that “if they fail to do so, procedures will be followed.”
The struggle revolves around permanent licenses for French fishing boats. Under the Brexit agreement, French fishermen are allowed to continue their work in British waters if they have already fished there.
However, France and the United Kingdom differ on how to prove this. It is about 150 to 200 licenses.
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