the conflict over post-Brexit fishing licenses continues to poison relations between Paris and London. Monday 1er November, British Foreign Minister Liz Truss called on the French government to withdraw its threats of sanctions, which are due to come into effect on Tuesday unless negotiations progress significantly. Paris plans to ban British fishing vessels from landing their cargo in French ports. Strengthening customs controls on trucks is also on the agenda.
“The French have made completely unreasonable threats”, Liz Truss told SkyNews. Lack of solution “Within forty-eight hours”, the British foreign minister clarified that her government would rely on the dispute settlement mechanism under the post-Brexit trade agreement to ask for “Compensatory measures”. London has warned that it is preparing to strengthen controls on European fishing vessels as well.
Jersey caught up in argument
Under the Brexit deal, European fishermen can continue to work in certain UK waters provided they can prove that they were already fishing there between 2017 and 2020. Or nearly a hundred of them could not provide sufficient evidence of this history, explains London. Seventy-five fishermen from Boulogne have been denied their licenses, and 55 more are expected to lose their provisional licenses at the end of October if the Jersey administration does not renew it.
“We have been in discussion with the European Commission for weeks on this licensing issue and we have responded favorably to 98% of license requests. [faites par les Européens]. We have acted in good faith and have fully complied with the ATT agreements. [traité commercial post-Brexit] “, said David Frost, Minister for Europe under Boris Johnson, on Twitter Saturday.
Paris and London consider themselves to be within their rights; French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday that the “Ball was in the British court”.
Caught up in the dispute between the two countries, Ian Gorst, Minister of External Relations for the Channel Island of Jersey, called on Sky News to “Stop all this nonsense and take care of the technical problems” allowing the issuance of fishing licenses.
Even before the expiration of the ultimatum, the French authorities diverted last week to Le Havre a British trawler suspected of having caught more than two tonnes of scallops without a license. He was still at the dock on Monday.
Andrew Brown, spokesperson for Macduff Shellfish based in Mintlaw, northern Scotland, said a hearing was scheduled for Tuesday or Wednesday “When the terms and conditions surrounding the release of the vessel are determined”, pending the trial of the captain, scheduled for August. “The crew keeps morale and we are in constant contact with the boat”, he added.
The Northern Irish problem
Another topic of post-Brexit tension remains, which concerns Northern Ireland. London demands the renegotiation of customs measures specific to the British province, but negotiations, which resume this week in Brussels, remain at an impasse.
In everyday life The Telegraph, European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic said “Increasingly worried that the British government is going down the road of confrontation”. Intended both to protect the European market and to prevent the reestablishment of a physical border on the island of Ireland, which would risk weakening the peace, the Northern Irish protocol de facto maintains Northern Ireland in the customs union and the European single market.
But he is denounced by London and the northern irish unionists, committed to maintaining Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom. They accuse him of disrupting trade between the province and Great Britain, separated by the sea. British Secretary of State in charge of Brexit, David Frost, said that the European Union had shown itself “Without regard to the enormous political, economic and identity sensitivities” in Northern Ireland.
On Monday morning, a bus was attacked and set on fire by two masked men in a Unionist district of Newtownards, a city east of Belfast. The two attackers have “Say something about the protocol” and threatened the driver with a gun before spilling flammable liquid on the bus and setting it on fire, Northern Ireland Minister for Infrastructure Nichola Mallon told the BBC.