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Le Figaro: Paris condemns London's refusal to grant final licenses to French fishing boats

The access of French fishermen to British waters has been subject to temporary licenses since the beginning of this year, which prompted Paris to raise the tone to obtain full licenses to access British waters, according to the French newspaper "Le Figaro" today, Wednesday.


On Tuesday, 48 hours before the expiration of dozens of French fishermen's licenses, London announced the granting of 12 additional permits, a number far from that demanded by France.


According to “Le Figaro”, the French Minister of the Seas, Annick Girardin, stated that this is not a new refusal by the British to fulfill the commitments related to fishing in accordance with the “Brexit” agreement, stressing the need to obtain final licenses for French fishermen as stipulated in Convention.


According to the French Ministry of the Seas, London, in addition to the islands of Jersey and Guernsey, did not grant all the licenses required by French ships, which caused a lot of tension for several months, noting that London announced on Tuesday that it had granted 12 new licenses out of 47 requests, to access the region. Between 6 and 12 nautical miles from the British coast at a time when Paris is talking about 87 orders. In total, including licenses previously issued by London, 100 out of 175 were granted.


In a calming gesture, the Jersey island government announced on Friday that it will grant permits to EU boats and renew temporary licenses that expire within 48 hours, until January 31, for those who submit all required documents.


It is noteworthy that last May, dozens of French fishing boats gathered in front of St Helier, a major port in the British island of Jersey, to draw attention to what it considers unfair restrictions on their ability to fish in UK waters after Brexit, prompting London to send My boat patrol for a few hours. This protest resulted in the extension of deadlines unchanged in substance as European navies must give up 25% of their catch in British waters at the end of the transition period that runs until June 2026.


According to the Brexit agreement, European fishermen can access some British waters provided they obtain a license that is granted if it is proven that they have fished there before. These licenses are granted based on the amount of fishing trips made by the fishermen there in the period between February 2017 and January 2020.


In return, France threatened to cut off Jersey's electricity supply. An estimated 95% of the island's electricity arrives via submarine cables from France, which is only 14 miles away.


The Brexit deal stipulates that in some cases, both the UK and the EU can respond to a breach of any part of the agreement - for example in fishing - by imposing sanctions in another area which in that case would cut off the electricity supply.


The status of Jersey is very complicated, because it is not part of the United Kingdom, and has never been part of the European Union, as it belongs to the British Royal Crown and enjoys a great deal of freedom.


However, the UK government is ultimately responsible for its international relations, which is why access to fishing waters around the islands is specifically dealt with in the new UK-EU trade agreement.