France gives Britain until November 1 to grant more licenses to its fishing fleet on pain of reprisals

France heats up fishing cold war giving Britain until November 1 to grant more licenses to its fishing fleet or face retaliation with threats to cut cross-Channel power lines

  • Paris Maritime Minister Annick Girardin told the EU the UK has until November 1
  • France has tacitly threatened to cut power supply to UK and Jersey
  • French boats were free to fish in the six to 12 mile zone when the UK was in the EU
  • Paris wants to keep access but has only obtained 40% of previous licenses










France threatened to start a fire during the cold fishing war, giving Britain less than a fortnight to give its trawlers access to rich British waters on pain of sanctions.

Paris Maritime Minister Annick Girardin told the European Union that Boris Johnson’s government has until November 1 to reverse the post-Brexit access tightening.

France has tacitly threatened to strangle cross-Channel power supplies, as well as electricity for the Channel Islands, which also restricted access to French boats.

French boats were free to fish in the 6 to 12 mile zone when the UK was in the EU, but now have to prove they have done so before. France says it should keep the same level of access, accusing Britain of violating the Brexit trade deal.

Ms Giradin is said to have set the deadline during a meeting with Maros Sefcovic, vice-president of the European Commission in charge of post-Brexit trade negotiations, and Virginijus Sinkevicius, commissioner responsible for fisheries.

She told them that she was “preparing, along with her colleagues in other ministries, response measures that France can implement from November 1 if necessary,” a source told the Telegraph.

France has tacitly threatened to strangle cross-Channel power supplies, as well as electricity for the Channel Islands, which also restricted access to French boats.

Paris Maritime Minister Annick Girardin told the European Union that Boris Johnson's government has until November 1 to reverse the post-Brexit access tightening.

Paris Maritime Minister Annick Girardin told the European Union that Boris Johnson’s government has until November 1 to reverse the post-Brexit access tightening.

French boats were free to fish in the 6 to 12 mile zone when the UK was in the EU, but now have to prove they have done so before.

French boats were free to fish in the 6 to 12 mile zone when the UK was in the EU, but now have to prove they have done so before.

Paris was furious when Jersey only granted licenses to 12 small French boats out of 47 applications this summer – claiming they had not provided evidence that they were entitled to them.

France also says it has applied for 450 fishing licenses for British waters but only received 275.

French boats were free to fish in the 6 to 12 mile zone when the UK was in the EU, but now have to prove they have done so before. France says it should keep the same level of access, accusing Britain of violating the Brexit trade deal.

This weekend, French fishermen threatened to block the Channel after the EU refused to support Emmanuel Macron’s demand for severe action against the UK.

Last week, other EU member states poured cold water on Mr Macron’s proposal to get them to sign immediate retaliation, instead agreeing to a watered-down statement calling for more ‘technical’ work.

Diplomatic relations between the countries hit a low point recently - with French ministers even threatening to cut off electricity supplies

Diplomatic relations between the countries hit a low point recently – with French ministers even threatening to cut off electricity supplies

However, the French fleet is now warning that it is ready to take matters into its own hands.

Fishing rights have been one of the main battlegrounds between Britain and France in their post-Brexit negotiations, and Mr Macron’s impending presidential election means he is under pressure to have the look hard.

Earlier this year, the licensing dispute led France and Britain to send patrol vessels off the coast of Jersey, which is an autonomous dependency of the British Crown.

Britain says majority of vessels were denied entry because they failed to provide evidence that they had fished in the six to 12 mile nautical zone in the years leading up to the UK referendum on leaving the EU.

Jersey Foreign Affairs Minister Ian Gorst said the island government had taken “a pragmatic, reasonable and evidence-based approach” to the issue.

Diplomatic relations between the countries hit a low point recently – with French ministers even threatening to cut off electricity supplies.

Last month Boris Johnson told France to ‘take a grip’ and ‘give me a break’ over the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal that tore up a separate French contract.

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