French Secretary for European Affairs says Government is not backing down over UK fishing licences
French Secretary for European Affairs, Clément Beaune has appeared on television to reaffirm with French fishers that the Government is not backing down over UK fishing licences.
Last night at a meeting in Finistére, Minister for Maritime Affairs, Annick Girardin told fishers and their representatives that the government was preparing a rescue plan of €40 to €60 million for French boat owners being forced to remain in port due to the loss of licenses for UK waters.
This announcement caused French fishers to react angrily and led to accusations that the Government had given up on the 150 fishing vessels that were still seeking licences.
On BFMTV News, Beaune said that he understood the anger of the French fishers because there are still a number of vessels that cannot access British waters.
He said, “I would like to say it with the greatest force, the greatest clarity, there is no renunciation, no retreat and no abandonment of our fishermen.
“Let’s fight with them. For them, we will continue. I understand the anger of the fishermen, I understand less the bad polemics that are made by this political party.
“Together, it is a subject of national interest of European interest. In the coming hours, I will still have exchanges with the European Commission, with the British Government.”
He continued, saying that the Government of France will continue the pressure on the UK, not just for France but for all of the EU as “we must respect the Agreement (UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement)”.
He concluded by saying, “We know that for fishermen, what matters is to be able to continue their economic activity which simply requires fishing. That is what we owe them.”
In a tweet after the interview Beaune wrote, “There is no abandonment of our fishermen. We are fighting with them and for them, we will continue, with two obsessions: dialogue and pressure from France and the European Union.”
On the issue, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron said, “We will not let go, and we will not let go of our fishermen. We asked the Commission to fight, because it is not only a subject between France and the British, it is a subject of respect for the given word. France will not give in.”
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