Thursday, October 28, 2021
Paris threatens in the fishing dispute
London appoints an ambassador
The dispute over fishing quotas between Great Britain and France is getting tougher. Paris in particular sharpens the tone and does not speak of war, but of a skirmish. London then calls in the French ambassador.
In the Brexit dispute between London and Paris over fishing rights in the English Channel, France is tightening the tone. “It’s not a war, but a skirmish,” said the Minister for Marine Affairs, Annick Girardin, the RTL radio station. “We have fishing rights. We have to defend them and we defend them.” European State Secretary Clément Beaune repeated the threat on CNews that British boats would be subject to strict customs and security controls in the future. “We will show no tolerance, no indulgence.” Paris wants to get London to fish more French boats in British waters.
Latest measure: Because it allegedly does not have the necessary licenses to fish in French waters, a British boat was directed to Le Havre by the French coast guard, Girardin tweeted. There is a fine in the room and the confiscation of the catch. The BBC commented, “It’s called a shot across the bow.” If there is no agreement in principle, British boats should no longer be allowed to sail to certain French ports from Monday. Trucks should also be carefully checked. Again and again, France threatens to stop electricity supplies to Great Britain.
The British government was outraged and is now considering countermeasures. The French project is very likely not in accordance with international law and the Brexit Treaty, stressed Brexit Minister David Frost. A government spokesman said, “We are ready to respond appropriately.” London had communicated its concerns to the EU and France. “The threats made yesterday evening are disappointing, disproportionate and fundamentally not what we expect from a close ally and partner,” said the spokesman. The French ambassador was summoned to the UK Foreign Office on Friday to explain the “disappointing and disproportionate threats against Great Britain and the Channel Islands”.
The fishing dispute has been simmering for a long time. The background to this is the question of how many foreign fishermen will be allowed to catch in British waters after Brexit. During the negotiations on the British trade pact with the EU, this was the most controversial issue, which at times seemed to make an agreement almost impossible. On the EU side, it was above all the French who were adamant, the issue has always been treated extremely emotionally and plays with age-old resentment against the other country. Paris takes the position that too few licenses for French boats have been granted, especially in the fish-rich waters around the Channel Island of Jersey, which belongs to the British Crown but not to the United Kingdom.
In early May, dozens of French fishermen blocked the Jersey port of Saint Helier in protest, and both London and Paris each sent two warships to the island. The UK government stresses that 98 percent of all requests from EU fishermen have been granted. On the other hand, Minister Girardin complained that it was only 90 percent – and the missing 10 percent were “obviously” French.
In Great Britain the tones are less martial, but nobody wants to give in. About half a year before the French presidential election, the French government is politicizing the issue, Barrie Deas, head of the British Federation of Fisheries Organizations, told BBC Radio 4. “It’s a bit strange because the French fleets are much more in British waters fish when we are in their waters, “said Deas. The ship owner sees himself as a victim of a major conflict. The “Cornelis Gert Jan” was legally looking for scallops. The ship is now a “pledge,” said MacDuff Shellfish boss Andrew Brown.