‘Deluded French fishermen’ shoot themselves in foot by ‘failing to meet licence criteria’

Fishing: Expect 'retaliation' from licence blocks says French minister

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Express readers have criticised the fishermen for shooting themselves in the foot by failing to meet the licence criteria. This follows an ultimatum issued by Paris earlier this week threatening sanctions if the UK Government did not give more French vessels the right to access UK waters. The row stems from France’s claim that the UK has broken the December 2020 Brexit agreement by only granting 200 fishing licences to French fishermen.

In order for french fishermen to be granted a licence to fish in British territorial waters, they need to prove that they have a history of operating in the area.

One express commenter hit out at the fishermen, saying: “This French escalation now adds another dimension to the problem.

“Deluded French fishermen who have NOT meticulously fulfilled all applicable criteria for a British licence (to fish in BRITISH waters) will not be granted a licence.

“A British licence is a privilege to fish our British waters, it is not a right.”

They also claimed that the French were “breaking international agreements” by invoking the “retaliatory measures”.

They said: “The deluded petite Napoleon, the mad Macron, is breaking international agreements.

“FACTS: 1700 fishing licences have been processed; of which 748 (44 percent) have gone to the French already. They are complaining about 35 applicants that have not meet British criteria for issuing of a licence.

“Should Macron invoke retaliatory measures, then all issued French fishing licences thus far, should be revoked immediately.

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“The 748 French licence holders with British licences will not be happy and turn their wrath on Macron.”

Speaking in the House of Commons earlier this week, MP George Eustice called the threats “disappointing and disproportionate”.

He also rejected claims that the UK was failing to cooperate in the post-Brexit relationship, noting that – of the 1,673 licences issued – 736 have been for French vessels.

Of the 121 licences for boats to fish in territorial waters, which lie six to 12 nautical miles off Britain’s shores – where the row currently centres- as many as 103 have been for French fishermen, said Mr Eustice

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He said: “It is very disappointing to see the comments that came from France yesterday.

“We believe these are disappointing and disproportionate and not what we would expect from a close ally and partner.

“The measures being threatened do not appear to be compatible with the trade and cooperation agreement or wider international law and if carried through will be met with an appropriate and calibrated response.”

He added: “The UK stands by its commitments in the trade and cooperation agreement and as I’ve said, has already granted 98 percent of licence applications from EU vessels to fish in our waters.

“All of our decisions have been fully in line with this commitment.”

Possible sanctions could include increased border and sanitary checks on goods from Britain, increased checks on trucks coming from and going to the UK or the restriction of British access to French ports, which could risk disrupting supply chains in the lead up to Christmas.

Paris also added that it was “not ruling out reviewing its power supply to the UK”.

Meanwhile, France’s Europe minister, Clement Beaune, threatened to take a zero-tolerance approach against Britain in the escalating dispute over post-Brexit fishing rights.

Mr Beune said: “We need to speak the language of force as I’m afraid it is the only thing this British government will understand.

“We will show no tolerance, no indulgence.”

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