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Post-Brexit fishing: France will go to litigation if it does not obtain its licenses from the United Kingdom


“If all the licenses were not granted tomorrow evening (deadline set by Brussels in London for the settlement of fishing disputes, Ed), France will request a meeting of the partnership council”, supposed to guarantee the application of the post-Brexit agreement, “to note the non-respect of its signature by the United Kingdom”, said Annick Girardin, Thursday, December 9, during a hearing in the Senate.

→ ANALYSIS. Fishing, home stretch for post-Brexit negotiations

“This is also where sanctions can be decided”, she said, adding: “It is the Commission that will bring the litigation and the retaliatory measures if they were to be implemented”. “We have obtained 1,004 licenses and we are still waiting for 94. This is not anecdotal, it is essential: they are fishermen, families. One job at sea is four jobs ashore”, added Annick Girardin.

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“Dilatory maneuvers”

Under the Brexit agreement signed at the end of 2020 between London and Brussels, European fishermen can continue to work in British waters provided they can prove that they have fished there before. But the French and the British argue over the nature and extent of the supporting documents to be provided.

While welcoming once again the constructive work carried out with the Channel Island of Guernsey, the Minister deplored the “dilatory maneuvers” of the United Kingdom in the eleven months since the signing of the agreement. It is in the 6-12 British mile zone that the greatest number of French licenses are now missing: “There are still 53 licenses missing, of which 40 are requested for replacement vessels”, new boats bought by fishermen to renew their fleet, files which London refuses for the moment to consider the anteriority.

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