Brexit: Fishing industry was 'sacrificed' by government says Deas
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Britain issued additional fishing licences to EU vessels on Saturday in an attempt to resolve a dispute over post-Brexit fishing rights for French fishermen.
Gloating about the pressure France put on the UK to obtain the licences, Europe Affairs Minister Clement Beaune renewed his threats to the UK.
He said: “We made very clear, very firm threats. We had them ready.
“We unblocked the negotiation with that. That was in November.
“Do you know what has happened since November? We’ve got several dozen licences.
“In the last few days we got over 80 licenses. Back in November, we had around 60 percent of the licenses we were entitled to. Today we have 93 percemt.
“It was not because of the holy spirit or the good will of Boris Johnson.
“It happened because France told the UK very firmly, publicly and behind the scenes, to stop, to negotiate, to unblock the negotiation.
“We got 93 percent of licences, which is an important number. We were very far from that a few weeks ago.
“There are still a few dozen to go. Around 60.
“What will we do with Annick Girardin, the fishermen, the European Commission now?
“Well, we will look at every single case that remains unsolved.
“We will not forget about those few dozen licences.
“Now we are analysing with the sector the last mile of this negotiation.
“By Wednesday we will decide the last stage of this strategy of pressure and dialogue.”
Britain issued 18 licences for EU replacement vessels in UK territorial waters and five licences for EU vessels to access Jersey waters, Britain and the European Commission said.
Technical consultations about seven additional licences are expected to conclude on Monday, the statements from London and Brussels said.
The UK Government said: “We have licensed vessels where sufficient evidence has been provided that demonstrates that a vessel qualifies for access …
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“Where that evidence has not been provided, licences have not been issued.”
France said it took note of the new British licences and that 1,034 or 93 percent of French licence requests had now been secured.
Mr Beaune and Seas Minister Annick Girardin said in a joint statement France and the EU were looking into all possible legal avenues to secure the remaining licences and produce evidence that Britain had agreed to review.
Britain and the EU agreed to set up a licensing system to grant fishing vessels access to each other’s waters when Britain left the bloc.
But France says it has not been given the full number it is due, while Britain says only those lacking the correct documentation have not been granted.
Fishing represents a tiny share of both the French and British economies, but it is politically sensitive.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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