Macron mindful of re-election bid during fishing row says expert
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French fishermen are preparing to block the Channel Tunnel and the port of Calais. It is in protest at the UK’s failure to grant them more fishing licences since Brexit. Members of the fisherman’s association said a large number of vehicles will be used to block the tunnel.
It will likely disrupt the trade in goods that go back and forth between the UK and France by road and rail.
The two are currently at loggerheads over a number of issues, including the migrant crisis.
The fishing row surrounds a dispute over the number of licences the UK has allocated to French boats to allow them to fish in British waters since the UK left the EU’s rules and regulations behind earlier this year.
A Downing Street spokesman said the Government is “disappointed by threats of protest activity”.
They continued: “It will be a matter for the French to ensure that there are no illegal actions and that trade is not affected. We continue to monitor the situation closely.”
The row will likely be one in a string of further “friction” between the UK and EU over fishing, according to Barrie Deas, Chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO).
He told Express.co.uk: “Going forward, yes, I think there’s the potential for more friction.
“As we diverge from the Common Fisheries Policy, I think there will be scope for more friction.
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“There’s a legal obligation on both the UK and the EU on the UN law of the sea and a moral obligation, because we share stocks.
“If we don’t manage them in a proper way the fisheries and the stocks are under jeopardy.
“There will be spats, but there’s this overriding obligation to act in a cooperative way, but you do get spats between coastal states.”
The obligation Mr Deas speaks of has yet to come into play between the UK and France.
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Paris is angry that the UK and Jersey have denied fishing licences to dozens of French boats in recent months.
As part of the post-Brexit deal, boats were told they would be given licences if they could provide historical evidence of working in the area.
France says that for the six to 12 mile zone off Guernsey and Jersey, 210 licences have so far been granted, whereas it requested 454.
Authorities say only about 20 of Boulogne-sur-Mer’s 112-strong fleet are permitted to fish in that zone.
But the UK says it has granted about 1,700 licences, 98 percent of EU applications.
This week, France told the UK it was in its “best interest to settle” the fishing dispute.
Clement Beaune, France’s Europe minister, also took the challenge to the EU and warned the bloc that should it fail to intervene, France will take their own “measures” against the UK.
Today’s direct action expected to take place by French fishermen is believed to be independent of the French government.
It is not the first time the fishermen have sought to take control.
In April, they blocked lorries carrying fish from British waters to processing centres in France.
Then, in May, the British navy dispatched two patrol boats when French boats blockaded the Saint Helier harbour in Jersey.
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