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French fishing in British waters post Brexit

France warns Boris Johnson to continue allowing French fishing in UK waters

Boris Johnson, incoming British Prime Minister, has vowed to leave the EU with or without a deal. Fishing will be impacted, which concerns France.
Boris Johnson, incoming British Prime Minister, has vowed to leave the EU with or without a deal. Fishing will be impacted, which concerns France. Hannah Mckay/File Photo/Reuters

France's agriculture minister has warned incoming British prime minister Boris Johnson against any moves to prevent French fishermen from accessing British waters if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal later this year.

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Johnson has vowed to leave the EU by 31 October with or without a deal. A no-deal Brexit would automatically bar British boats from fishing in EU waters, and vice versa.

Britain's rich fishing waters are currently open to other member states with set quotas. Closing access would particularly hit France.

"There is no scenario in which French fishermen should be prevented, could be prevented, would be prevented by Boris Johnson, from fishing in British waters… So I will keep telling Britain that our fishermen must be allowed to keep fishing in its waters," French Agriculture minister Didier Guillaume told CNews on Wednesday.

Territorial disagreements between British and French fishermen have flared sporadically over the years, most recently in August 2018, when French vessels rammed British trawlers off the coast of Normandy in what became known as the ‘scallop wars’.

French President Emmanuel Macron will meet with Johnson in the coming days, once as he is officially installed as prime minister.

Right after Johnson’s election on Tuesday, Macron said that he wants to work "as quickly as possible" with the new Prime minister, not just on European issues but on Iran and international security”.

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