France Threatens Legal Battle with UK over Post-Brexit Fishing Licences
Story Code : 970015
French Europe Minister Clement Beaune issued the threat after cross-Channel relations sunk to a new low.
He told France 2 television that there will be a high-profile meeting with EU representatives on January 4 about the stand-off with the UK on fishing rights.
He stressed that litigation at a special tribunal put in place by the Brexit accords would start in “the very first days of January”.
Earlier this month, the UK and Jersey governments issued further licences to French fishing boats to trawl British waters in an apparent attempt to ease the cross-Channel bust-up.
However, a broader agreement is yet to be struck and France is now pushing for an EU-wide response to the deadlock.
The clash, which has seen French fishermen blocking British access to ports on the Continent, centres on licences to trawl in UK and Channel Islands waters under the terms of Britain’s post-Brexit trade deal with the EU, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
The main dispute is over the number of licences to fish in waters around the British coastline for smaller French vessels that can prove they operated there before Brexit.
France says the UK has not handed out enough licences, while the British government has insisted that applications have been granted to those who have the correct documentation.