Amid controversy over the entry of French fishermen into British waters after the UK’s exit from the European Union (Brexit), France seized a British fishing boat off the coast of its territorial waters on Thursday, the 28th. Port Le Havre, a move that the UK calls “disproportionate”. In response, the British government announced that it would summon the French ambassador.
According to Paris, under the Brexit agreement, London did not issue fishing licenses to almost half of the French fishermen in British waters – especially around the Anglo-Norman Islands, closer to France than to the UK. European union.
French Maritime Minister Annick Girardin explained in his official Twitter profile that the ship had been diverted to the northern port of Le Havre with the help of maritime police.
In view of the British delay, France has issued a series of “revenge” threats from next week, which could go beyond maritime controversy. As for Paris, Boris Johnson’s government seems to understand only the “language of the army” and says that Paris is ready to win this “struggle” while at the same time being “open to debate”.
In response to the capture, a British government spokesman said France’s threats were “disappointing and unequal” and not what they expected from an ally. “France’s threats do not appear to be in line with international law. “We will convey our concerns to the European Commission and the French government.”
British diplomat Lis Truss later said that the actions of the French government were unjustified and advised her Foreign Secretary for Europe, Wendy Morton, to summon the French ambassador.
The fear surfaced Thursday. In a statement, the French Ministry of Maritime Affairs said that one of its patrol boats had conducted inspections on two British ships in the Gulf of Seine, in the wake of the controversy, following the decision to strengthen surveys in the English Channel. In licenses with the UK and the European Commission.
One of them was fined for obstructing inspections, initially refusing to allow officers on board to check documents. The agents did not commit any offense, but fined him for that reason.
On the other ship, agents found that it was not on the license list agreed to by the European Commission and France by the United Kingdom. Therefore, an immediate order was issued to divert the ship to Le Havre, where he is scheduled to arrive on Thursday, said Marine Affairs Minister Annik Girardin.
The French government points out that this practice could lead to the seizure of cargo and the imposition of fines for withholding it. “This reflects significant economic consequences,” the ministry underlined in the statement, adding that the captain may have been subject to “criminal sanctions”.
Following the statement, Clement Beyonc, the French foreign secretary for European affairs, said the British government understood only “the language of the army” in the controversy. “The British understand that it is necessary to return to the negotiating table. But if they do not, we will continue,” he told CNews.
Since Wednesday 27th, fishing boats from the UK and the Channel Islands have not been able to unload their fish in French ports. But only 5% of UK seafood exports to France do so. The rest is transported by truck.
The biggest risk is the tightening of restrictions on galleys and other entry points for UK trade via boats and tunnels. The French authorities will conduct what they call the “Grave de Gel” – a kind of meticulously fixed functional looking violations. This action should result in endless queues.
As France further threatened in May, it warned that it could reduce the supply of electricity to Jersey, which is dependent on the British government. Eustace said the threats of sanctions imposed by France were “disappointing and disproportionate” and in violation of the post-Brexit agreement and international law.
Tensions over fishing rights have been building for months after the UK rejected requests from some small French boats to continue fishing in British waters under the Brexit agreement. There is a dispute over the right to fish in the sea 6 to 12 nautical miles off the coast of England and in the waters off the Isle of Jersey near France.
In May, England sent warships to Jersey after a siege of French fishermen denied a license to fish in its waters.
France claims that only half of those eligible have been licensed to continue fishing, even after providing data and documentation of these boats’ previous fishing activities in support of the claims. “We are not going to allow the UK to stumble on Brexit,” government spokesman Gabriel Attle said on Wednesday.
He said Paris had first addressed the European Commission on the issue, as provided in the agreement. The Commission and EU member states have not yet backed France’s call for action. Brussels, which has been examining the evidence of French boats, said on Tuesday that the UK had approved 15 of the 47 requests for French boats to operate in the area in question. A further 15 could be licensed if they provided additional evidence, while 17 applications were withdrawn “due to insufficient evidence”.
Of the 170 vessels signed to fish from Jersey, only 66 were licensed, and 35 were still assessed and 69 rejected.
The UK says 1,700 EU vessels have been licensed to fish in UK waters this year and 98% of applications for fishing licenses have been issued.
But French Maritime Minister Annie Girardin accused the UK of “spreading lies and misinformation”. “98% of the value of the licenses granted by the UK to Europeans is invalid,” he said. “Only 90.3% are Europeans. Apparently, the remaining 10% are French.” (With international agencies)
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