Brexit POLL: Is Boris right to cave on Macron’s demands and grant more fishing licenses?
Brexit: France hails Guernsey decision on fishing licences
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Environment Secretary George Eustice is planning to offer an olive branch to Virginijus Sinkevičius, the EU Fisheries Commissioner, on Wednesday, by issuing licenses for “replacement boats”. Under the terms of the Brexit fishing deal, EU boats can have a licence if they can demonstrate four years of historical fishing activity in UK waters between 2012 and 2016.
Some skippers who have fished UK waters over that period have been denied licences because they own new boats, but are now likely to be issued licenses under the replacement boats agreement.
The breakthrough comes just days before Paris’ latest deadline for progress of December 10.
It is thought the Prime Minister has compromised on the fishing row in order to avoid a trade war and boat by boat investigations in the run up to Christmas.
The news comes as Jersey granted nine more permanent fishing licenses to French boats over the weekend.
In total, 125 French boats can now fish in and around Jersey.
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On November 26, French fishermen who claim they have been ‘humiliated’ by Britain over post-Brexit operating licences staged blockades at the Port of Calais and Channel Tunnel rail link in an effort to disrupt trade.
The fishermen who manned the roadblocks said they wanted to see concessions from the UK by 10 December, after months of quarrelling.
A fisherman from near Boulogne, Jean Michel Fournier, said: “If we don’t get anywhere … believe me, the English will not have a magic Christmas. We’ll ruin the party.”
Several trawlers manoeuvred inside the Port of Calais on Friday to hold up the passage of two ferries at the major entry point for British goods coming into Europe.
At the Channel Tunnel, fishermen erected barricades of burning wooden pallets and lit smoke canisters on nearby roads, blocking access to the freight terminal and causing long queues of traffic.
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Gerard Romiti, the chairman of France’s powerful National Fisheries Committee, said: “This is to demonstrate how professional fishermen come together in response to the UK’s provocative, contemptuous and humiliating attitude towards them.”
It appears their actions may have paid off by forcing the UK Government to give in to their demands over licenses, but has Boris Johnson made the right choice? Have your say in the comments section below.
The fishermens’ disruption comes after months of threats from French ministers to cut off UK energy supplies, to block French ports from UK boats, and to slam charges on trade.
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