Meeting between France and the United Kingdom this Thursday ahead of possible sanctions

Meeting between France and the United Kingdom this Thursday ahead of possible sanctions

British Foreign Minister for Brexit David Frost is meeting with Secretary of State for European Affairs Clement Beaune this Thursday to finally move forward on the issue of fishing licenses.

British Foreign Minister for Brexit David Frost met Secretary of State for European Affairs Clement Beaune in Paris on Thursday, amid the fisheries crisis, with France threatening Britain with sanctions.

The location of the meeting was not reported to AFP, with Clement Beain’s crew specifying that it took place outside the media. But French government spokesman Gabriel Attal confirmed to the press that the fishing dispute would be on the agenda, without giving any details.

There is a dispute in Paris and London over the fishing licenses given to Europeans after Brexit.

France threatened at midnight on Monday to ban British fishing vessels from unloading their cargo in French ports and tighten customs controls on all trucks if London did not grant more licenses to French fishermen. threatened. He eventually withdrew the ultimatum temporarily while awaiting the Paris meeting.

“It is not when we are negotiating that we will impose sanctions,” Emmanuel Macron defended the press on the sidelines of COP26 in Glasgow, United Kingdom. “The next few hours are critical hours,” the French president assured.

“We have received the first signal from the British authorities to accelerate trade,” the French president said on Monday. A response to the latest proposals from the French authorities is expected by Wednesday.

“deep discussion”

The British government, for its part, “welcomed” the suspension of sanctions, saying “it welcomes France’s recognition that in-depth discussion is necessary to resolve all difficulties in relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union”.

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Under the Brexit deal, European fishermen can continue to operate in certain UK waters, provided they can prove they have previously fished there. But the French and British debate the nature and extent of supporting documents to be provided.

About a quarter of French catches by volume (about 20% in value) come from British waters, which are very rich in fish and which are the source of 650 million euros in annual sales for European fishermen.

“trust issue”

The subject was discussed between the United Kingdom and the European Commission in Brussels on Wednesday, during which the sensitive point of replacement vessels was discussed for the first time, namely that new French fishing vessels replace old ones, according to a European source. .

The source told AFP that the British, who refused to take them into account, had softened their position, but wanted a guarantee that their catches would not exceed the boats they replaced.

A point was to be made at the European level on Wednesday evening “before Thursday’s meeting of Frost-Buene”, the European source said, highlighting the “trust problem” between the parties. “Discussions are progressing, but with no success,” she further remarked.

In an apparent concern for appeasement, Scottish trawler Cornelis Gert Jan, stagnant in France for a week fishing more than two tons of unlicensed scallops, departed the port of Le Havre late in the afternoon. ,

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