French fishermen threaten Christmas blockade of UK imports and supplies in post-Brexit row

France’s Europe minister said they ‘would not be pushed around’ as row over post-Brexit fishing licences intensifies

Holly Bancroft
Wednesday 06 October 2021 08:27
Rishi Sunak says Brexit is in UK's long-term interest

French fishermen have reportedly threatened to cut off crucial Christmas supplies to Britain in an escalation of the ongoing Brexit row.

They warned that they will blockade the port of Calais and the Channel Tunnel if negotiations over fishing licences fail.

Brits “will not have so many nice things to eat” at Christmas if the issues aren’t resolved, one French official said.

Only 12 twelve small French boats have been granted the licence to fish in its territorial waters out of 47 applications.

French fisherman have now accused the UK of failing to grant them enough permits to make a living.

Olivier Lepretre, chief of the powerful northern France fisheries committee, told the Daily Mail:“If negotiating fails, we will stop all French and European products reaching the UK, and we will stop all British products reaching Europe.

“Unless Boris backs down, the Brits will not have so many nice things to eat this Christmas. I hope it doesn’t come to that.”

French Prime Minister Jean Castex told MPs on Tuesday that: “Britain does not respect its own signature.”

“Month after month, the UK presents new conditions and delays giving definitive licences... this cannot be tolerated,” he said.

Mr Castex also called on the EU to get “tougher” with the UK. His colleague, Europe minister, Clement Beaune, warned that Paris and Brussels would take “measures to put pressure on the United Kingdom” within days.

Mr Beaune commented on the shortage of fuel in the UK, with a veiled threat about cutting off energy supply from France. He said: “We could imagine, on the subject of energy - the Channel Islands and the United Kingdom depend on the supply of energy and out ability to export it.

“The United Kingdom thinks it can get along all by itself and then bash Europe. Since that doesn’t work, they escalate their aggressiveness. We will not be pushed around.”

The row comes as Britain reels from the affects of multiple supply and labour shortages.

The UK’s Brexit minister hit back at the comments from France on Tuesday, saying that it was “unreasonable” to suggest that the UK was acting in bad faith when it allocated post-Brexit fishing licences.

The European Commission said it had “taken note” of the UK granting 12 out of 47 small boats a licence “at this stage and that further evidence could be provided for the remaining.”

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