French fisherman says he’s ‘fed up of Britain pushing him around’
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A French fisherman has vented his anger “at being pushed around” and having to bide his time before he receives his licence to continue fishing in British and Channel Island waters. France is intent on taking legal action against Brexit Britain for its failure to accord 104 fishing licences to French boats, accusing Britain of not honouring a deal that was sealed, signed and delivered with the European Union in December 2021. Fisherman Christian Dubois, who makes a living out of fishing in British waters, insisted it is now time for France to put extra pressure on the UK.
Mr Dubois told DW News: “We are leading these actions for the remaining licences that have not arrived.
He said: “There are 150 missing for the French.
“We want to show the British that we are fed up with always being pushed around: ‘Next week, next week!’, they say.
“But we’ve had enough and here we are, taking action!”
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The deal supposedly expired on Friday at 10 pm but Britain defended itself against allegations that they would provide France with 150 licences by then, claiming that many of the French vessels are not qualified to obtain the right paperwork for a licence.
The row between France and England has been dragging on for months and France threatened the EU to trade restrictions against Britain if there was not a “sign of goodwill” on this matter.
But talks to find an agreement are set to continue.
France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune was upbeat about the chances of England supplying the licences to its neighbours from 21 miles across the Channel.
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He said: “If they stick to their guns, then we will ask the European Commission to begin a legal complaint.
“A legal procedure does not just involve papers and courts, it’s also measures, for example, customs measures, that Europe can take collectively to tell the British in certain sectors, ‘since you do not respect the agreement, some of your products are not recognised’.”
On Friday, the UK environment secretary, George Eustice, held talks with EU environment commissioner, Virginijus Sinkevičius.
He said: “Intensive technical discussions over recent days have been constructive, however, they have not yet reached their conclusion.
“Our position remains that vessels must provide sufficient evidence of historic fishing activity in order to receive a licence.”
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Brussels has said the dispute must be settled by 10 December but Downing Street announced on Thursday that it knew nothing about the issued ultimatum.
A spokesperson for PM Boris Johnson said: “We’ve never set a deadline. I recognise they [the EU] themselves have set one but it’s not one we’re working to.”
There has been a growing animosity between France and the UK with both countries having repeatedly clashed this year over fishing and migrants crossing the Channel.
French President Emmanuel Macron even went as far as accusing the UK of not keeping its word.
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