Eleven countries, including France, which has called for a European front against London following British decisions on fishing licenses, signed a joint statement on Monday criticizing the UK’s response to the matter.
“The UK’s response to requests for fishing licenses is incomplete and inappropriate,” the French Ministry of the Sea said in a press release following the meeting of the European Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers in Luxembourg. The declaration was signed with France, Germany, Belgium, Cyprus, Spain, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden, according to this press release.
The post-Brexit agreement, reached late last year between London and Brussels, says European fishermen can continue to work in certain British waters provided they obtain a licence, which is granted if they can prove they have fished there before . . But the French and British argue about the nature and scope of the supporting documents to be submitted.
In the still contested fishing grounds (6-12 miles from the British coast and the Channel Islands), London and Jersey have granted just over 200 final licenses, while Paris still claims 244.
“This joint declaration is an important step because only a collective response will allow the European Union to think calmly about continuing negotiations with our British partner,” Minister for the Seas Annick Girardin stressed in the press release. Annick Girardin also claims that “European and French responses to the British proposals” will be announced “during the second half of October” and “will likely include retaliatory measures”.
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