France to seek EU action against Britain over fishing
Paris will ask the European Commission to open post-Brexit litigation proceedings against Britain over a long-running dispute on fishing licenses for French boats in British waters, France’s European affairs minister said Friday.
“In the coming days we will ask the European Commission to launch litigation, a legal procedure, for the licenses we are entitled to,” Clement Beaune said after President Emmanuel Macron met fishing representatives and local officials.
French fishermen say Britain and the Channel Island of Jersey, a British crown dependency, are holding back on licenses for French boats that had been allowed to ply their waters for years before Britain left the EU.
The dispute has sparked the possibility of an all-out trade war, with fishermen in northern France vowing this week to step up protests and block British boats from French ports along the Channel coast.
Britain agreed to issue an additional 23 licences to French fishermen on Saturday, but France believes it is entitled to around 80 more UK licences.
The European Union had set London a December 10 deadline to grant licences to dozens of French fishing boats under the post-Brexit trade accord signed last year, with Paris threatening European legal action if no breakthrough emerged.