The escalation of the fishing crisis .. Britain summons the French ambassador to protest and threatens an appropriate response to Paris
A British government spokesman said that Foreign Secretary Liz Truss had instructed to summon the French ambassador to protest the measures threatened by Paris regarding marine fishing boat licenses, in the first escalation between the two sides since Britain’s exit from the European Union, which may threaten to exacerbate a dispute described by the French side. by battle.
British Environment Minister George Eustice said earlier that France’s threats to tighten measures against British fishing boats go beyond international law and the free trade agreement signed with the European Union.
The British Minister of Environment called for “calm” and “stopping the escalation”, stressing that the door to his government is “still open”, but at the same time, he stressed that his country will face the French measures with an appropriate and thoughtful response.
In this context, British Brexit Secretary David Frost said that France’s threats were disappointing and that Britain would study the necessary measures to respond to the French threats.
For its part, the government of the island of Jersey, which is under British sovereignty, expressed “great disappointment” with the measures announced by Paris on Wednesday. The island announced the granting of about 20 new licenses to French boats, most of them temporary.
France had accused Britain of not complying with the agreement signed between the two parties on regulating marine fishing operations and granting licenses to French fishermen, but the British government spokesman stressed that his country’s government agreed to 98% of the license requests submitted by European Union ships to fish in the waters of the United Kingdom, Paris says the rate is 90%.
France decided to take measures against Britain, starting from the second of next November, including banning British fishing ships from landing in French ports, and strengthening health and customs controls.
Paris says a package of other measures is under consideration, without ruling out the possibility of a review of energy supplies to the UK.
In the context, the French Minister of State for European Affairs, Clement Bonn, said on C News television on Thursday that France may increase the prices of the electricity it provides through submarine cables to the British Channel Islands off the northwest coast of the country.
In other statements, Bonn added that London “understands only the language of force”, while the French Minister of the Seas, Annick Girardin, spoke of a “battle” to compel Britain to honor its commitments.
agreement with terms
The post-Brexit deal concluded at the end of 2020 between London and Brussels stipulates that European fishermen will be able to continue working in some parts of British waters under certain conditions.
In areas still contested, London and Jersey have granted more than 210 final licenses to Paris, which is demanding an additional 200.
It seems that the strengthening of the French authorities to monitor British ships began with the imposition of a fine on two fishing vessels, although the French side explained that these are regular seasonal inspection procedures.
The French side said one of the two ships “did not meet the licensing regulations granted in Britain” by the European Commission and France, and was returned to Havre.
The owner of the expelled Scottish ship told AFP it was a “misunderstanding” and denounced a “political maneuver”. He faces a fine of 75,000 euros and administrative penalties, the Public Prosecution Office announced Thursday.
From the French side of Granville Bay, fishermen, on the contrary, considered that these controls were long overdue, as one of the French fishermen said that since Brexit, there has been no control from the French side, indicating that he is subjected to inspections once a month when he goes to Jersey.
On the British side, Barry Dees of the union representing British fishermen said that the “eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth” strategy does nothing.
In a statement to the BBC, he indicated that few ships dock in French ports, while there are a large number of French fishermen in British waters, stressing that the escalation will not be in the interest of the French, especially wholesalers.
He added that these French people buy fish in bulk and prepare them for distribution, and that they depend a lot on British products, and Thursday opposed any “measure, no matter how simple”, that would deprive them of these products.