French fishermen send blockade warning to UK
French fishermen have given the UK two weeks to grant them licenses to work in UK waters before starting the blockades.
The captains of France’s largest fishing port have sounded the warning amid a rumble feud over post-Brexit paperwork.
Officials of the Boulogne-sur-Mer fleet accused the British of not respecting post-Brexit agreements.
They said the action could include blocking the Channel Tunnel and the Port of Calais, which could threaten crucial supply chains in the run-up to Christmas.
The fishing dispute has intensified in recent days, with France suggesting it could cut the UK’s power supply in retaliation.
Lord Frost, the UK government’s Brexit chief, dismissed the threats from Paris, suggesting they were “disproportionate” as he questioned whether the rest of the EU “would accept” him.
French fishermen have given the UK two weeks to grant them licenses to work in UK waters before starting the blockades (File photo of fishing boats moored at the port of Guilvinec in June of the year last)
The fishing dispute has intensified in recent days, with France suggesting it could cut the UK’s power supply in retaliation. French fishermen are pictured in May this year
Lord Frost, the UK government’s Brexit chief, dismissed threats from Paris, suggesting they were ‘disproportionate’ and wondering if the rest of the EU ‘would accept’ him
Britain has only granted 12 of the 47 small French vessels fishing rights in British waters.
British officials said those who were denied were unable to prove that they had fished in the six to 12 mile nautical zone in the years before the UK left the EU.
But French fishermen say the small boats are not equipped with the right technology to prove their historic fishing links and locations.
Luc Ramet said his boat, the Charles-de-Foucauld, was refused a license at the start of the scallop season.
“My boat is new and newly registered,” said Mr. Ramet. “It is for this reason that the British refuse me the permit.
Mr Ramet said that “if nothing is done in 15 days” then he and his fellow captains were ready to “take direct action” to block Britain.
Christophe Lomel, another skipper from Boulogne, said: “It is illogical, licenses have been granted to boats which hardly ever go to UK waters. I have been going for 35 years and have no allowed.
He follows Olivier Lepretre, head of the powerful Northern France Fisheries Committee, saying: “If negotiations fail, we will prevent all French and European products from reaching the UK, and we will prevent all British products from reaching the UK. reach Europe. “
Referring to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Mr Lepretre said: “Unless Boris backs down, the British won’t have so many good things to eat this Christmas. I hope it doesn’t come to that.
French fishermen accused the UK of creating a complex and onerous application process and not granting them enough permits to earn a living.
The threat of a blockade is likely to heighten fears of shortages of some produce this winter, as families already rush to buy food for Christmas, including frozen turkeys, party snacks, puddings and chocolate.
Trade between the ports of Dover and Calais is estimated at around £ 100 billion annually.
The flow of goods between the two accounts for almost a quarter of the UK’s major port traffic with the EU, according to a 2019 University of Hamburg study on the effects of Brexit.
The dispute over fishing rights in the English Channel erupted in May, when Britain sent two Royal Navy gunships to Jersey after dozens of French fishing boats vowed to block the port of the Isle.
French Europe Minister Clément Beaune has warned that the dispute endangers the UK’s power supply.
“The Channel Islands, the United Kingdom, depend on us for their energy supply,” he told Europe 1 radio yesterday.
“They think they can live alone and denigrate Europe too. And because it doesn’t work, they overdo it, and aggressively.
Jersey and neighboring Guernsey depend on French electricity, and two submarine cables also provide electricity to more than three million homes on the British mainland.
Mr Beaune said other EU governments could take punitive action against the UK, such as imposing tariffs.
Families are already rushing to buy food for Christmas, including frozen turkeys, party snacks, puddings and chocolate, amid fears of shortages
Lord Frost retaliated last night by accusing France of being misleading about the UK’s position on access to fisheries.
He said at an event on the sidelines of a Conservative Party conference in Manchester: “We have granted 98% of applications for licenses from EU vessels to fish in our waters under the various criteria of the agreement. trade and cooperation, so we do not accept that we do not abide by this agreement.
“We’ve been extremely generous and the French, focusing on a small category of boats and pretending we’ve behaved unreasonably, I think that doesn’t really reflect the effort we’ve put in.”
The Cabinet minister acknowledged that Britain “would have liked a different kind of fisheries deal” in the Brexit deal, but said the UK was working hard to stick to the terms agreed.
“We have agreed to this deal and we are implementing it in good faith, so I think it is unreasonable to suggest that we do not,” he continued.
“If there is a reaction from France, they will have to persuade other EU members to follow it, and that must be proportionate.”