Fisheries dispute: Great Britain gives France ultimatum


Status: 01.11.2021 11:49 a.m.

The dispute over fishing licenses is intensifying: Great Britain has now set France a 48-hour deadline to give in – otherwise London wants to demand compensation payments from the Brexit agreement.

In the fisheries dispute with France, Great Britain has issued an ultimatum. “This problem must be resolved within the next 48 hours,” said Foreign Secretary Liz Truss the Sky News broadcaster.

Otherwise, London will trigger the dispute settlement mechanism agreed in the Brexit treaty to demand compensation. “Stop threatening British fishing boats,” she said. “Stop threatening the canal ports. And accept that we are fully entitled to issue fishing licenses in accordance with the trade agreement,” said Truss. France had “made completely unreasonable threats, including against the Channel Islands and the British fishing industry. These threats must be withdrawn.”

France behaved unfairly, said Truss. “And if someone behaves unfairly on a trade deal, you have the right to take action against them and demand compensatory measures. And we will do that if the French do not give in.”

France calls for an agreement by Tuesday

The dispute between the two states is about fishing rights after Brexit. Paris accuses London of penalizing French fishermen in allowing them to fish in British waters. French fishermen would not have received the guaranteed licenses to cast their nets in British waters. According to British information, it concerns a few dozen French boats that have not received a fishing license because they could not prove the required documents.

If no agreement can be reached by November 2nd – tomorrow – France has announced that it will close some ports to British fishermen and tighten controls on British boats and trucks. Trucks are also to be monitored more closely.

A few days ago France had arrested the British cutter “Cornelis Gert Jan” and warned a second boat because both ships had been sailing in French waters without a license. For its part, Britain has threatened to arrest French fishing boats.

No agreement at the G20 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron believes the ball is on the British side. A meeting between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Macron on the sidelines of the G20 summit did not lead to any relaxation yesterday. A senior French government official said there was consensus between Macron and Johnson on the need to speak “in a situation of major tension”. However, London denied that Johnson and Macron had agreed to take steps to reduce the dispute. It was entirely up to France to smooth things over.

It is not the only conflict between the UK and the EU that could overshadow the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. In the dispute over Brexit special rules for Northern Ireland, both sides reproached each other.


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