Eleven countries, including France, have signed a joint statement on Monday criticizing the United Kingdom’s response to the European Front’s call against London following British decisions on fishing licenses.
“The response of the United Kingdom to requests for fishing licenses is incomplete and inappropriate,” the French Ministry of Maritime said in a statement following a meeting of the Council of European Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries in Luxembourg. The declaration was signed by France, Germany, Belgium, Cyprus, Spain, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden.
“An important step”
Under the post-Brexit agreement between London and Brussels, which reached its climax late last year, some European fishermen could continue to work in British waters, subject to a license, if they could prove that they had fished there. But the French and the British argue over the nature and scope of the aid documents to be provided.
In the still-disputed fishing areas (6-12 miles off the British coast and the Channel Islands), London and Jersey have thus issued a total of more than 200 fixed licenses, while Paris still claims 244.
“This joint declaration is an important step, because only a collective response will allow the EU to think calmly about continuing negotiations with our British partner,” Maritime Minister Anik Girardin underlined in a press release; Anik Girardin argues that “European and French responses to British proposals” will be made public in the second half of October and may include “retaliatory measures”.