“Replica”, even “Retaliation” : the tone is rising, on the French side, in the case of licenses granted sparingly by the United Kingdom to French fishermen.
“In about eight days, we will announce measures of response, retaliation, retaliation if necessary, national or European, if we do not have concrete British signals on the issue of licenses”, declared, in the Senate, the French Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, Wednesday, October 13 evening.
France is threatening in particular to reduce its deliveries of electricity to Jersey, and to take measures in the financial services or research sector.
“We were very patient, too patient (…) The British do not want to give out a certain number of licenses not because they lack information but because they have made this political choice ”, hammered the Secretary of State.
200 licenses granted out of 244
The post-Brexit agreement, reached in extremis at the end of last year between London and Brussels, provides that European fishermen can continue to work in certain British waters on condition that they obtain a license, granted if they can prove that they fished there before. But the French and the British argue over the nature and extent of the supporting documents to be provided.
In the still disputed fishing zones (6-12 miles from the British coasts and the Channel Islands), London and Jersey have thus granted a total of just over 200 definitive licenses, while Paris is still claiming 244.
“It’s not a French problem (…) It’s a European problem ”, Clément Beaune insisted, recalling that Belgium and Ireland were also concerned. “We are mobilizing our European partners”, he added.
Eleven countries, including France, which called for a European front against London after the British decisions on fishing licenses, signed a joint declaration on Monday criticizing the United Kingdom’s responses to this issue.
The signatory countries of this declaration are: Germany, Belgium, Cyprus, Spain, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden.