France insists on more post-Brexit fishing licences from Britain
France still wants a few dozen post-Brexit fishing licences to be granted by Britain, says French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune, who also reaffirmed that the country had obtained 93 percent of the licences it had asked for.
"We still need a few dozen licences. No fisherman will be left behind," Beaune told CNews television on Monday.
"By Wednesday we will have a meeting with the fishermen to see how to secure the remaining licences."
Beaune insisted that France's firm position had allowed it to unblock the difficult negotiations and obtain 93 percent of the licences it aimed to get.
#Pêche | « Notre fermeté a débloqué la négociation. Nous avons obtenu aujourd’hui 93% des licences, plus de 80 ces derniers jours. Nous allons définir avec les pêcheurs 🇫🇷 le dernier kilomètre de cette négociation. » @LaurenceFerrari @CNEWS pic.twitter.com/9wNN5HsKuP— Clement Beaune (@CBeaune) December 13, 2021
More protests threatened
Britain issued 23 additional fishing licences to EU vessels on Saturday in an attempt to resolve the months-long dispute over post-Brexit fishing rights for French fishermen.
But France believes it is entitled to around 80 more UK licences and a group representing fishermen in the key port of Boulogne-sur-Mer and others along the northern coast said late Saturday that they would launch protests.
“Protests should be expected … protests that will target British imports,” the local CRPMEM fishing industry group for the Hauts-de-France region said in a statement.
The group said its members were “exasperated” by the news of only 23 new licences and felt “betrayed” by the European Commission, which could launch legal action against Britain over the issue.
The CRPMEM said the protests would be “in line with blockades of ports in Brittany, Normandy and the north of France which took place on November 26th”.
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Fishing boats briefly blocked ferries and other boats in Calais, Saint-Malo and Ouistreham on that day, while vehicles were also sent to disrupt traffic seeking to use the Channel Tunnel rail link.
France and Britain have clashed repeatedly this year over fishing as well as migrants crossing the Channel, post-Brexit trade arrangements and the sale of submarines to Australia.
London briefly deployed two gunboats in May when dozens of French trawlers massed off the Channel Island of Jersey to protest the licensing problems, prompting France to send two coastal patrol vessels.
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