EU Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier has accused the British government of taking back part of the compromise on access to Crown waters
The European Union’s chief negotiator during Brexit, Michel Barnier has accused the British government of now taking back part of the compromise reached between two blocs and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
The agreement should allow French fishermen to continue their activity and Crown waters of the Jersey Islands, but fishing licenses are slow to be issued, accentuating tensions between the fleets.
The deal which came into effect on 01 January this year was reinforced by a new temporary three-month agreement which was signed in June but the French politician has accused the UK government of not acting properly in fulfilling the terms laid out in the deal.
During a trip to Boulogne-sur-Mer this Friday, Michel Barnier estimated that “the British are now trying to take back part of the compromise they reached with us, this is not acceptable”, according to a journalist from AFP. “They refuse to give licenses to boats which have the right to fish under our agreement”, he added, seeing a “form of political flibustery in this attitude”.
“If the licenses are not given, it can create a very serious bilateral problem between France and the United Kingdom and also between the European Union and the United Kingdom,” he warned.
An explosive subject throughout the negotiations on the conditions for the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, the access of European fishermen to British waters continues to cause friction. Between French ships and those of the Crown, but also between French and Dutch ships.
Indeed, the non-respect of the British commitments overloads the Community fishing zones of the Channel, more and more occupied by the fishermen coming from the Netherlands. Professionals from Boulogne-sur-Mer, the leading French fishing port and the leading European seafood processing centre, have been denouncing for months “the invasion of the Dutch industrial fleet”, which they accuse of overexploiting resources. of the Channel. A situation they have denounced for 10 years but worsened according to them by Brexit.
“The fact that we fish less in British waters causes a redistribution of fishing capacity”, underlined Mr Barnier, questioned on the tensions between French and Dutch fishermen. “The French authorities must submit this question to Brussels, within the framework of the common fisheries policy,” he said.
In recent months, clashes have multiplied between the French and British fleets. At the beginning of May, dozens of Norman and Breton fishing boats gathered in the port of Saint-Hélier in Jersey to express their discontent and defend their right to continue fishing in Jersey waters, causing London to send two patrollers before the situation returned to order during the day.