09:39 GMT28 January 2021
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    Previously, The Guardian reported that the UK would send two Royal Navy vessels to patrol Britain’s fishing waters with another two on standby, as a no-deal Brexit is highly anticipated. The British Ministry of Defence has also reportedly prepared “a standby package of 14,000 personnel” so it can protect British waters from EU vessels

    France has responded to plans by the UK to deploy Royal Navy vessels to secure Britain’s fishing rights in case of a no-deal Brexit.

    An Elysee official has used the famous British wartime slogan “keep calm and carry on” while commenting on the recent developments of the situation.

    The official declined to give any further comments.

    The Elysee official’s comments followed news that the UK would deploy four Royal Naval vessels in its fishing waters as London and Brussels are still negotiating the terms of a trade deal. The 80-metre-long armed vessels would reportedly be empowered to not only inspect, but halt and impound all EU fishing boats operating within the UK’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which can extend 200 miles from the coastline.

    Fisheries remain a stumbling block to reaching a deal. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that fishing rights were one of the two major impediments to the deal, with the other one being maintaining fair competition once the UK is able to set its own standards and regulations from the end of the transition period in three weeks’ time.

    A flotilla of fishing boats sail by the Gateshead Millennium bridge
    © AP Photo / Owen Humphreys
    A flotilla of fishing boats sail by the Gateshead Millennium bridge

    While the UK deems it necessary to sit down at the negotiating table annually to determine individually applied quotas, the EU has been pushing for wider and more universal access, in terms of time, to the British fishing waters.

    News about the deployment of Navy vessels has sparked heated debate in the UK, with the Conservative chair of the Commons Defence Committee calling it irresponsible and Ex-Admiral Sir Alan West labelling it “absolutely appropriate”.

     

    Tags:
    Boris Johnson, fisheries, Brexit, Royal Navy
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