France has published a list of sanctions it could impose from November 2 unless progress is made in an ongoing post-Brexit fishing row with the UK. The measures include closing ports to British vessels, and tighter border checks.
The proposed restrictions list was unveiled late Wednesday by France’s Maritime and European Affairs ministries in a joint statement.
“We’re announcing retaliatory measures to protect our fishermen, starting November 2. The dialogue remains open but we will always defend our interests,” French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said.
The measures, which could be enacted as soon as next week, range from banning British fishing boats from entering certain French ports, and reinforcing customs and health checks on the fishermen, to tightening checks of trucks heading to and from the UK. Paris’ options to deal with the fishing row are not limited to the outlined measures and further restrictions are in the works, the statement warned.
“A second round of measures is being prepared. France is not ruling out reviewing its power supply to the UK,” the ministries said.
The UK hit back at the French threats shortly after the announcement, promising to come up with “an appropriate and calibrated response” if the restrictions are actually enacted.
“France’s threats are disappointing and disproportionate,” Downing Street said in a statement. “The measures being threatened do not appear to be compatible with the trade and cooperation agreement and wider international law.”
The post-Brexit fishing row between France and the UK has been dragging on for months. Earlier Wednesday, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said the country’s fishermen still lack around half of the licenses they need to fish in the UK’s waters.
According to Paris, the fishermen are eligible for these licenses after Brexit, but British authorities have consistently failed to deliver them. The UK, however, insists that “98% of fishing licenses” have been granted, with additional permissions for the French fishermen issued in recent weeks.
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