France Warns UK of Sanctions If Post-Brexit Fishing Row Not Solved
12:06 GMT 27.10.2021 (Updated: 18:36 GMT 27.10.2021)
The separation of fishing areas following the UK's withdrawal from the European Union was among the most problematic aspects of the "divorce" alongside the Northern Ireland border.
Paris will start applying retaliatory measures against the UK early next week if the situation surrounding the Brexit-related fishing row between the two countries does not improve, France's Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune and government spokesman Gabriel Attal have warned.
The measures might include "systematic customs and sanitary checks" that are imported to France from the UK, as well as a ban on landing seafood. Later, Paris released the full list of possible sanctions that could take effect starting 2 November if progress is not made in the fishing debacle. France could ramp up border checks on goods from the United Kingdom and ban British fishing boats from accessing French ports, if the situation did not improve, the Maritime and European Affairs Ministries said in a joint statement.
Not all of these measures will go into effect next week, but additional penalties may be imposed that could, for example, affect power supplies to the UK, if London fails to act.
"We have been very patient. Our objective is not to impose these measures, it is to get the licences", Beaune said.
According to government spokesman Gabriel Attal, Paris expected London to issue twice as many fishing licenses for French fishermen than the UK actually issued.
12 October 2021, 14:40 GMT
In response, a UK government spokesperson said that "France’s threats are disappointing and disproportionate, and not what we would expect from a close ally and partner".
"The measures being threatened do not appear to be compatible with the trade and cooperation agreement (TCA) and wider international law, and, if carried through, will be met with an appropriate and calibrated response. We will be relaying our concerns to the EU Commission and French government".
The UK agreed to issue fishing licenses for France following the country's withdrawal from the European Union and threats to close its territorial waters to foreign fishermen, sparking protests from its European partners. The row was eventually resolved by an agreement between London and Brussels to avoid fishing wars.