In the western Baltic Sea, fishermen are no longer allowed to fish for cod. Herring is also becoming increasingly scarce. Depletion of stocks is an ecological problem. For neighboring states, however, they are also important in economic terms.
This led to a dispute between France and Great Britain. The two states are fighting over fishing rights and controls and calling on both sides to let the situation escalate.
London has issued an ultimatum to Paris and is threatening to trigger the dispute settlement mechanism agreed to in the Brexit Treaty to demand compensation. “This problem must be resolved within the next 48 hours,” Foreign Minister Liz Truss told Sky News on Monday.
“The French have made utterly unreasonable threats, including against the Channel Islands and our fishing industry, and they must withdraw those threats. Otherwise, we will use the mechanisms of our trade agreement with the EU to act,” said Truss. And further: “Stop threatening British fishing boats. Stop threatening the Channel ports. And accept that we have the full right to issue fishing licenses in accordance with the trade agreement.
France behaved unfairly. “And if someone behaves unfairly in a trade deal, you have the right to take action against them and demand compensatory measures. And we will if the French don’t give in.”
Paris, for its part, accuses London of discriminating against French fishermen by allowing them to fish in British waters. France has announced that it will close some ports to British boats from Tuesday and tighten controls on British fishermen if there is no deal. The trucks are also to be watched more closely. London rejects the allegations and threatens countermeasures that would affect the entire EU.
Unsuccessful meeting between Macron and Johnson
French President Emmanuel Macron believes the ball is on the British side. “If the British do not take significant measures, we must act from November 2,” Macron said on Sunday evening on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome. According to British information, there are a few dozen French boats that have not received a fishing license for lack of being able to justify the required documents. A few days ago, France arrested the British cutter Cornelis Gert Jan and warned a second boat because the two ships were sailing in French waters without a license.
This isn’t the only conflict between the UK and the EU that could eclipse the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. In the dispute over the special Brexit rules for Northern Ireland, the two sides blamed each other.
The Paris government threatened to take targeted action against British ships and goods from Tuesday and to tighten controls. Britain, for its part, has threatened to stop French fishing boats. A settlement of the dispute at a meeting of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Macron on the sidelines of the G20 summit this weekend was unsuccessful, according to a spokesperson for the British government.