Following a meeting between senior officials from France and the United Kingdom, the deadline for trying to resolve the dispute over the access of French fishing vessels to British waters was extended this Thursday (4).
Clement Beaune, the French foreign secretary for European affairs, discussed the British Channel’s charge of Brexit with David Frost, which undermines the English Channel’s difficult relationship between the two sides.
“Both sides have expressed their views and concerns,” a UK government spokesman said, adding that the discussion on post-Brexit fishing licenses would continue “early next week”.
“This conversation allowed us to restart the conversation,” Peon declared, “but there is still a lot of work to be done and there are big differences in positioning.” “What we are asking for is the use of the contract, not the new requirements regarding the contract,” he stressed.
Under a divorce agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU), fishing in British waters can be licensed, but only if they have already proved that they have done so in the area.
In the context of the tension over immigrants crossing the English Channel or other issues such as the so-called submarine crisis with Australia, the French and British did not agree on the nature and purpose of the supporting documents.
“We have a problem with the way the British (…) have chosen, with a certain number of criteria that are additional requirements in relation to the contract,” the senior French official explained.
London claims to have issued 98% of EU vessel license applications for fishing in its waters, which France reduces to 90%. However, the most sensitive area is on the French coast.
The British island of Jersey off the coast of Normandy has blocked access to nearly 50 fishing vessels, and neighboring island of Kurseni has not yet settled 64 claims, AFP data said on Tuesday.
Paris plans to ban British fishing boats from unloading cargo at its ports and tighten restrictions on ships and trucks, unless London grants more licenses to French fishermen, which London classifies as “threats”.
Despite the sanctions scheduled for Tuesday, the French government decided to wait for the outcome of the talks, which will include a meeting between Frost and European Commission Vice President Maros Shefkovic on Friday.
“Until the conversation seems possible (…), we will evaluate in the next few days without naivety, with European unity and a demand for results,” Peon added.
A quarter of French fisheries are carried in rich British waters, amounting to $ 750 million a year in sales to European fishermen, representing 20% of the total value.
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