As the French deadline over fishing licences looms, the UK is prepared to take legal action against their neighbours
The UK is prepared to take legal action against France in the dispute over UK fishing licences warns Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
With a deadline looming tomorrow, the UK has warned the French to back down from their proposed actions and accept the licences that has been issues to their fleet.
Ms Truss told France 24 news that fishing licences had been awarded to French boats “entirely in accordance” with the post-Brexit deal between the EU and UK.
“France has made completely unacceptable threats to our fishermen but also to the Channel Islands in terms of their energy supply, and we need them to withdraw those threats.
“If they don’t withdraw those threats, we are prepared to use the dispute resolution mechanism in the trade deal we signed with the EU to take action against the French.
“They have behaved unfairly. The fishing licences were awarded entirely in accordance with the trade deal we negotiated and we no need them to withdraw those unreasonable threats that they made.”
Ms Truss told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme “We’re simply not going to roll over in the face of these threats.”
French President Emmanuel Macron himself said of the situation, “I don’t want to take retaliatory measures. It doesn’t help our fishers. I want to find an agreement so that our fishers can earn their living what we agreed with PM Johnson.”
He said that they were trying to ease the tensions between the two countries and have offered a short-term solution to Boris Johnson.
Macron continued, “The ball is now in their court. If the British don’t move on fishing, obviously we’ll have to apply measures on 02 November. They will have said ‘No’. It’s up to them. We handed them our proposal.
“If the British continue not to apply the agreement, which they signed, I would regret it.
“We cannot not react, and not defend out fishers. It’s not just about France. Belgian boats are affected and other EU countries, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands etc.
On other issues he said, “May take more time,” when discussing the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Meanwhile, the Scottish-owned UK-registered Cornelis-Gert Jan and her crew remains impounded in the port of Le Havre, along with its skipper who has been named as Jondy Ward from Burtonport, Co Donegal.
French authorities have set a release bond of £125,000 and Andrew Brown, director of Macduff Shellfish, who own the vessel have said that they are hoping to secure the release of the boat and the crew as soon as possible.