In a row with Paris, London is considering activating the mechanism of the European Union agreement

In the dispute with France over fishing permits in the English Channel, Great Britain is considering for the first time the activation of the dispute settlement mechanism provided for in the trade agreement with the European Union.

The basics in brief

  • The dispute over fishing licenses in the English Channel is nearing a peak.

“No, of course I don’t rule it out,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome, on Sky News radio. “If (…) we believe there is a breach of contract, we will do whatever is necessary to protect British interests.”

After Brexit, Paris and London entered into a heated dispute over fishing rights. They accuse the other of violating the Brexit trade agreement concluded late last year over fishing licenses in British waters.

France accuses the United Kingdom of not granting sufficient fishing permits to French ships. According to the agreement, fishermen are entitled to obtain a license if it can be shown that they were fishing in the waters in question prior to Brexit. Paris threatened retaliatory measures on Tuesday, such as tightening controls on goods and banning British fishermen from landing in French ports.

French President Emuel Macron warned Johnson on Friday not to lose credibility. “If you spend years negotiating a contract, and then after a few months you do the opposite of what was outlined in areas that are less favorable to you, that is not a good indicator of credibility,” he told the Financial Times. On the other hand, London sees itself right and threatens in return with additional requirements for all EU fishermen.

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