French fishermen to block the transport of goods through the Channel Tunnel and ferries in the Brexit fishing line
French fishermen will block ferry traffic at three Channel ports and the movement of goods through the tunnel between France and the UK on Friday in protest of post-Brexit fishing rights, a union said.
Describing the action as a “warning shot”, the president of the French National Fisheries Committee (CNPMEM), Gerard Romiti, said that ferry traffic would be blocked in the ports of Saint-Malo, Ouistreham and Calais, as well as freight traffic in the Channel Tunnel for several hours.
The months-long dispute between Britain and France over the number of licenses issued to French ships remains unresolved and has threatened to escalate into a full-scale trade war.
“We don’t want handouts, we just want our licenses back,” Romiti said. “The UK must comply with the post-Brexit deal. Too many fishermen are still in the dark ”.
“We have been waiting with bated breath for 11 months. The patience of professionals has limits. We hope this warning shot will be heard, ”he said, refusing to rule out further action in the future.
France had threatened to prohibit British vessels from unloading their catch in French ports and subjecting all British imports to inspections.
At the time, President Emmanuel Macron said France would postpone imposing measures to give dialogue a chance, but French officials have insisted all options remain on the table.
The talks between the French Minister of Europe, Clement Beaune, and the British Minister of Brexit, David Frost, have not yet taken a big step.
The British government said it was “disappointed” by the threat of a blockade.
“It will be up to the French to ensure that there are no illegal actions and that trade is not affected,” a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday.
Cultivation of London-Paris strains
Under a deal agreed by Britain and the EU at the end of last year, European fishing vessels can continue to ply UK waters if they can prove they operated there in the past.
But Paris says dozens of French boats have had their applications to fish in the rich UK waters rejected, an assessment strongly contested by London.
The total volumes affected are miniscule in terms of total bilateral trade between France and the UK.
But the issue has contributed to mounting post-Brexit tensions between London and Paris, whose relationship will now also be put to the test by their response to Wednesday’s Canal migration disaster that cost 27 lives.
( Jowharwith AFP)