Post-Brexit fishing: Paris confirms being ready to launch litigation against London

No sign of appeasement in the Franco-British quarrel over post-Brexit fishing licenses. On the contrary: the Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, confirmed Friday December 10 on Franceinfo that with no progress by the end of the day, if the British “Stick to their position, we will ask the European Commission, over the weekend, to announce that a dispute is underway”.

For more than eleven months, the French and the British have been arguing over the terms of application of the trade agreement concluded after Brexit between London and Brussels, which sets the conditions of access to British waters for European fishermen. Under pressure from Paris, the European Commission asked London at the end of November to settle the fishing license dispute before Friday, December 10. Thursday evening, the United Kingdom sharply rejected this deadline, while Paris calls for European arbitration, promising to go to litigation if necessary.

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“There will not be, I say it very clearly, all the licenses to which we are entitled by this evening”, regretted Mr. Beaune. “If the British today say ‘we are giving a few dozen additional licenses’ as a gesture of goodwill, to show that the dialogue is bearing fruit and that it is in our interest to continue it further, we will take that into account, we will do it. ‘evaluation with the European Commission and maybe we will continue ” to dialogue, he explained.

“Boris Johnson did not succeed”

Otherwise, France will go to litigation. “This means that there is a legal procedure, which the European Commission did not want to initiate with the British until then, which it is now taking into account”, and who must record the fact that London “Does not respect the agreement” end of 2020, he said. ” I think that [le premier ministre britannique] Boris Johnson thought he could isolate the French and divide the Europeans. He failed ”, he said.

This litigation procedure will make it possible to initiate possible retaliatory measures at European level, in particular customs measures targeting British products, the French Secretary of State added.

A spokeswoman for the EU executive, Vivian Loonela, indirectly responded to Mr Beaune on Friday, assuring the press that the European Commission and London still wanted to conclude today their discussions on the fishing licenses claimed by the France. “The Commission and the UK are mutually committed to bringing their talks to a successful conclusion today”, she said, while challenging the term« ultimatum » employed by Paris.

Read the report: Article reserved for our subscribers “Jersey is in the middle of a battle that is beyond it”: the Channel Island in the uncertainty of tensions over fishing licenses

The World with AFP

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Post-Brexit fishing: Paris confirms being ready to launch litigation against London