France “will remain firm” in a dispute with Britain over fishing licences, a minister has said in a scathing attack he described as Britain’s failed Brexit.
London and Paris are embroiled in a war of words after the UK government last month granted just 12 licenses to small French boats to fish in British coastal waters.
Hundreds of requests were made. Government officials defended the decision, saying it was a “reasonable” approach and fully in line with the UK’s commitments set out in the trade and cooperation agreement.
But the move angered Paris, with a government minister accusing Britain of taking French fishing “hostage” for its “political purposes”.
In a dramatic escalation of tensions, France’s minister for European affairs, Clement Beaune, vowed that Paris would “hold firmly” and take on Britain over its ongoing supply chain crisis.
“The British need us to sell our products,” he said. “They failed on Brexit. It was a bad choice. Threatening us, threatening our fishermen, will not dispose of turkey supplies at Christmas,” he said.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Jean Castex said that if London continues to ignore the agreement on fishing rights in its post-Brexit trading relationship with the EU, France will look to review bilateral cooperation with Britain. ready for.
Paris has threatened retaliation and fishermen have warned that if London does not grant more fishing licenses over the next 17 days they could block the northern port of Calais and the Channel Tunnel rail link, both in the UK and continental. There are major transit points for trade between Europe.
Earlier this week, Olivier Lepretre, head of the powerful northern France fisheries committee, said fishermen could wreak havoc in cross-Channel trade.
“If negotiations fail, we will block all French and European products from reaching the UK, and we will block all British products from reaching Europe,” he told the Daily Mail.
“Unless Boris steps back, the Britons won’t have so many good things to eat this Christmas. I hope it doesn’t come to that.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /