Dispute with British: French fishermen plan to blockade the English Channel

Quarrel with the British
French fishermen plan to blockade the English Channel

The French fishermen apparently want to send a clearer message in the dispute with the British over fishing rights. You want to disrupt trade routes across the English Channel for a short time. For the British retailers, this could mean further bottlenecks in the Christmas business.

In the fishing dispute between Great Britain and France, French fishermen want to block traffic routes across the English Channel this Friday. Blockades are planned, among other things, at the Canal Tunnel in Calais. It is about time-limited, symbolic and non-violent protests, emphasized the fishing association. In addition to Calais, the ports of Saint-Malo and Ouistreham are also affected. The actions are a reaction to the British blockade of granting fishing licenses to French fishermen.

Despite months of negotiations, London and the Channel Island of Jersey refused to issue legitimate licenses. A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in London that the situation is being monitored “very closely” and that “emergency plans” are on hand. However, France must ensure “that there are no illegal actions and that trade is not affected”.

The Channel Strait between Calais and Dover is the UK’s main trade route. Much of the goods from the continent arrive on the island either via ferries or the Eurotunnel. A blockade of these traffic routes could therefore hit the British economy seriously. In the ports of Calais, Saint-Malo and Ouistreham, the fishermen want to interrupt ferry traffic with their boats for one to two hours. In Calais, truck access to the Channel Tunnel via the motorway is also to be blocked for two hours.

According to French fishermen, 237 licenses are still pending

According to the calculations of the French Fisheries Association, the British side has yet to issue 237 licenses. The fishermen provided all the information requested and waived countermeasures for a return to the negotiating table. It now appears that the results are inconsistent with her patience and goodwill.

The EU Commission is aiming for a solution to the conflict by December 10th. This was announced by the EU Commissioner in charge, Virginijus Sinkevicius, on Twitter on Wednesday. “We are intensifying the talks for a final solution by December 10th, 2021”, said Sinkevicius after a conversation with the British Environment Minister George Eustice.

The dispute between Paris and London is about fishing licenses for French fishermen off the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey, which are under the British Crown. The islands are much closer to the French coast than to the English coast. Since the UK left the EU, fishermen from France have had to apply for licenses. Because various applications have been rejected, France accuses Great Britain of not adhering to the Brexit agreements. London rejects this.

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