France threatens retaliation if UK fails to comply with fisheries
France has threatened retaliation if the UK fails to meet Brexit commitments on fisheries.
The agreement obliges a vessel flying the flag of an EU member state to acquire a license to fish in UK waters.
But so far, only 22 of some 120 boats in Boulogne-sur-Mer, the Channel’s leading fishing port, have been given the green light to fish in these waters.
Now Paris says it will block regulations that would allow UK financial firms to do business in the EU unless progress is made on fishing commitments.
“We are asking for the whole agreement, just the agreement and as long as it is not implemented (…) we will take retaliatory measures in other sectors if necessary”, declared Clément Beaune, Minister French for European Affairs in an interview with BFM.
“The UK expects a number of financial services clearances from us. We will not give any until we have assurances that on fisheries and other matters the UK is complying with it. its commitments, ”he added.
“It’s give and take. Everyone must respect their commitments, otherwise we will be as brutal and difficult as necessary as partners.”
Beaune added that if fishing commitments are not met, “we will not give any. It is a counterpart. “
The stumbling blocks
Fishing has been one of the most controversial issues in the Brexit negotiations, as France has waged a bitter fight to allow inland fishermen access to UK waters.
The fisheries agreement is slow to be implemented and should be a stumbling block until the end of negotiations on the Brexit agreement, causing frustration among professionals and a call from France for European action closed.
In particular, it provides for the British to issue licenses for the 6 to 12 nautical mile (11.11 km – 22.22 km) area off their coasts, where European fishermen traditionally went.
Fishermen from the north of France, who traditionally fished in British waters, denounced the long delays in compliance with the trade agreement when only 22 of the some 120 boats in Boulogne-sur-Merl were issued such licenses.
This situation has led France to allocate a budget of 100 million euros in subsidies as part of a European aid plan for the fisheries sector, one of the most affected by Brexit.
MEPs will vote on the EU-UK trade deal on Wednesday, which is expected to pass by an overwhelming majority.