Great Britain Sees France in Violation of International Law
The dispute over fishing licenses between France and Great Britain is coming to a head: While Paris is threatening sanctions and detaining a British fishing boat, London is speaking of a violation of international law.
The dispute over fishing rights as a result of Brexit is increasingly affecting British-French relations. Following yesterday’s threat from France not to allow British fishing boats to enter French ports until the beginning of next week without an agreement, Great Britain is now speaking of a possible violation of international law. The British government also threatened retaliation if France took threatened measures.
“The threats from France are disappointing and disproportionate and not what we would expect from a close ally and partner,” said the British government. The planned measures seem “incompatible” with the Brexit agreement “and broader international law”.
The background to the dispute is the issue of fishing licenses. Paris complains that the British authorities are not granting French fishermen enough permits for their waters in the English Channel. As a result of Great Britain’s exit from the EU, an agreement had been concluded between London and Brussels. European fishermen may only continue to fish in British waters with a permit. In order to obtain a license, a fisherman must prove that he was previously active in these waters.
In the meantime, further permits have been granted. France believes, however, that it has only received 50 per cent of the licenses to which it is entitled, said French government spokesman Gabriel Attal.
France also threatened to tighten customs, security and other controls on British boats and trucks travelling between the two countries. In addition, there could be measures aimed at energy supplies to Great Britain, Attal threatened after a cabinet meeting yesterday.