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World French block British boat off St Malo amid fishing licences row

11:45  26 november  2021
11:45  26 november  2021 Source:   reuters.com

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By Stephane Mahe

French fishermen block boats at St Malo as they launch Brexit protests © Reuters/STEPHANE MAHE French fishermen block boats at St Malo as they launch Brexit protests

SAINT-MALO, France (Reuters) -French fishermen blocked a British cargo vessel from docking in a Brittany port on Friday, in protest at what they say are moves by authorities in London and Jersey to withhold licences to fish in British waters under a post-Brexit deal.

French fishermen block boats at St Malo as they launch Brexit protests © Reuters/STEPHANE MAHE French fishermen block boats at St Malo as they launch Brexit protests

The fishermen held aloft red flares as they circled their boats outside Saint-Malo to block the Normandy Trader's path - a prelude to a planned blockade later on Friday of Calais and the Channel Tunnel, both major transport hubs for trade between Britain and continental Europe.

France vows not to 'abandon' fishermen in UK dispute

  France vows not to 'abandon' fishermen in UK dispute French President Emmanuel Macron insisted Friday that he would not "abandon" fishermen demanding post-Brexit licences for waters off the Channel island of Jersey, escalating a battle of words that could spiral into a trade war. "We are going to continue to fight, we will not abandon our fishermen," Macron told journalists during a visit to northern France. He called on the European Commission to step up its efforts to pressure Jersey, a British crown dependency, to honour what France says are the terms of the post-Brexit trade accord with the bloc."The Commission must protect us.

French fishermen block boats at St Malo as they launch Brexit protests © Reuters/STEPHANE MAHE French fishermen block boats at St Malo as they launch Brexit protests

The one-hour Saint-Malo protest and the larger action further east along France's coast risk reigniting a dispute between the two countries over a mutual licensing system for fishing vessels.

They are also embroiled in a row over cross-Channel migration.

With Britain's exit from the European Union, the two sides agreed to set up a licensing system for granting fishing vessels access to each other's waters

Paris says London and the Channel Island of Jersey, a British crown dependency, are not honouring the agreement and dozens of licenses to operate inside their coastal waters are owed to French fishermen.

French fishermen block boats at St Malo as they launch Brexit protests © Reuters/STEPHANE MAHE French fishermen block boats at St Malo as they launch Brexit protests

Britain says it is respecting the post-Brexit arrangements.

31 Migrants Die in English Channel After Boat Launched from France Capsizes

  31 Migrants Die in English Channel After Boat Launched from France Capsizes British and French authorities have called it the "biggest tragedy" involving immigrants in the crossing.The boat, which launched from France, had 34 people on board when it capsized in the dangerous crossing. According to the Associated Press, a French naval ship had spotted bodies floating in the water of both deceased victims and injured survivors. So far, 31 people had died, two have survived, and one passenger is still missing.

In October, France briefly seized a British scallop dredger off its northern coast for allegedly operating without a legitimate permit, and both countries have this year sent patrol vessels to waters off Jersey.

President Emmanuel Macron has accused Britain of pushing his country's patience and said the government would not yield in the dispute.

French fishermen block boats at St Malo as they launch Brexit protests © Reuters/STEPHANE MAHE French fishermen block boats at St Malo as they launch Brexit protests

Fishing rights dogged Brexit talks for years, not because of its economic importance but because of its political significance for both Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Separately, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin cancelled a Sunday meeting with his UK counterpart Priti Patel following criticism of France by Johnson over its handling of cross-Channel migration, French media reported on Friday.

The meeting had been scheduled amid mutual recriminations over how to curb the flow of migrants after 27 people drowned trying to reach British shores on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Stephane Mahe; Writing by Richard Lough, Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and John Stonestreet)

Camped in Calais, migrants renew resolve to try for England .
CALAIS, France (AP) — At the makeshift camps in France near Calais and Dunkirk, migrants are digging in, waiting for their chance to make a dash across the English Channel despite the deaths of at least 27 people this week when their boat sank a few miles (kilometers) from the French coast. Police have stepped up patrols in recent days and the weather has worsened, making this a bad time to attempt a crossing. But most migrants say the tragedy won’t prevent them from climbing into a flimsy inflatable boat packed with up to 50 people in hopes of reaching Britain.

usr: 1
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