UK-France fishing dispute: Port of Calais could be blocked if resolution not found by end of week

Wed 27 Oct 2021
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

calais

French prime minister Jean Castex has given the UK and EU until midnight on Friday to resolve a dispute over fishing licences before he unleashes a series of retaliatory measures.

The French are angry that the UK has approved only 15 permits out of 47 applications for small French fishing boats to operate between six to 12 miles off the UK coast.

Blockade

French fishermen are already threatening to block the Port of Calais from Saturday morning and French customs authorities could slow down border checks on goods crossing the Channel, reports City AM.

Other actions could include cutting energy supplies to the UK and Jersey, as well as blocking Britain’s fishing fleet from entering French ports.

Escalation

The Telegraph describes the plan as “an escalation of the post-Brexit war over fishing rights” and says it is designed to hit the busy pre-Christmas period.

France is also threatening to block UK membership of the EU’s €100bn Horizon research programme, reports the Irish Independent.

‘Respect the agreement’

Clement Beaune, France’s Europe minister, said that if Britain wanted to access European schemes it had to “respect the agreement” signed by both parties at the end of 2020.

“We have levers. The British need us more than we need them,” he said.

According to France 24, Britain has said it was open to further discussion with the boats it had rejected, adding that they had not submitted evidence of their history of operating in the six-to-12-nautical-mile zone.