Brexit news: France prepares sanctions for UK in fishing row – ‘Respect the agreement’ | Politics | News
The French authorities are furious by the UK Government’s refusal to grant what it believes to be the full number of licenses for their boats to operate in Britain’s territorial waters. Government spokesman Gabriel Attal warned: “We put ourselves in a position to take sanctions as soon as the agreements are not respected”, referring to possible punishments that could be applied “during the month of November”. He added: “So it is on October 30 that we will see if until the end they have not respected the agreement that has been signed.
“There are several types of sanctions that are possible – on electricity tariffs, on access to ports, on customs issues.
“Other measures are also possible.”
The Government spokesman confirmed the measures – if required – will be announced by Minister for Maritime Affairs Annique Girardin, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and European Affairs minister Clement Beaune.
Last month the fishing row erupted when the UK said it had approved just 12 of the 47 applications it had received from small boats in France.
Anger intensified days later when the Jersey Government said that of 170 license applications it had received from French boats, nearly half (75) had been rejected.
Earlier this week, Emmanuel Macron’s maritime minister Annick Girardin issued Britain and Jersey with a two-week deadline to give French fishermen greater access to UK waters.
The French President has reportedly told his Government to draw up plans for reprisals against Britain in four areas, including cutting energy supplies to the UK and Jersey or severing Anglo-French ties in defence and security.
France’s maritime minister also reportedly told European Commission vice president Maros Safcovic that Paris could strike back if Britain or Jersey did not grant more licences.
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This came after French Europe minister Clement Beaune warned EU member states are preparing to announce measures to apply pressure on the UK to abide by the terms of the Brexit deal.
He stopped short of detailing what those measures might be but noted Britain depends on energy supplies it receives from Europe – hinting at a possible electricity blackout.
Mr Beaune raged: “We defend our interests. We do it nicely, and diplomatically, but when that doesn’t work, we take measures.
“For example, we can imagine, since we’re talking about energy, the United Kingdom depends on our energy supplies.
“It thinks that it can live all alone, and bash Europe.”
But the UK’s Brexit minister Lord Frost hit back: “We have granted 98 percent of the licence applications from EU boats to fish in our waters according to the different criteria in the Trade and Co-operation Agreement, so we do not accept that we are not abiding by that agreement.
“We have been extremely generous and the French, focusing in on a small category of boats and claiming we have behaved unreasonably, I think is not really a fair reflection of the efforts we have made.”
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