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EU sets December 10 deadline for UK to resolve fishing row with France


French fishing ultimatum as the EU sets a December 10 deadline for Britain to resolve issues with post-Brexit licenses for small boats after Belgium rejected Emmanuel Macron after his call for support in a row with the UK

  • The European Union said the fishing dispute should be resolved by 10 December
  • Virginius Synkevicius of the European Union made this request during his meeting with George Eustis
  • It comes after Belgium rejected French pressure to support Paris in a row with Britain










The European Union has set a December 10 deadline for the United Kingdom to resolve a worsening post-Brexit dispute with France over fishing licenses.

The head of EU fishing, Virginia Sinkevicius, made the request during a meeting with Environment Minister George Eustis yesterday.

This came after French President Emmanuel Macron was humiliated after Belgium rejected his overtures to support Paris in the conflict with Britain.

Macron sent ministers to Brussels this week as part of his effort to garner support for his position and to punish the United Kingdom over the row.

But French Prime Minister Jean Castix and Europe Minister Clement Bonn were rejected by their Belgian counterparts.

The UK is preparing for possible protests from French fishermen in the coming days after they vowed to “disrupt English interests” to try to force Boris Johnson to do so.

The European Union has set a December 10 deadline for the United Kingdom to resolve a worsening post-Brexit dispute with France over fishing licenses. French fishing vessels are photographed in Port Granville, Normandy on November 4

The head of the European Union's fishing community, Virginia Sinkevicius, made the request during a meeting with Environment Minister George Eustis yesterday.

The head of the European Union Fisheries, Virginius Sinkevicius, made the request during a meeting with Environment Minister George Eustis yesterday.

The ongoing dispute revolves around the issuance of fishing licenses for EU fishing vessels to operate in British waters.

The terms of the Brexit deal state that boats must be able to prove, using GPS data, that they operated in waters prior to the UK’s separation from Brussels.

France accused the UK of failing to grant licenses to all eligible ships, but Britain said some boats were unable to substantiate its data claims, and therefore their requests were denied.

Talks on the issue are still ongoing between the UK, France and the European Commission, but the French fishermen are “outraged” at the “endless waiting months” and have threatened to take disruptive measures.

British ministers demanded guarantees from Paris that trade would not be affected after French fishing chiefs indicated they might close Calais and other ports to halt exports to the United Kingdom.

France is putting pressure on the European Commission to be “more active” in helping to resolve the standoff and securing more licenses from the UK.

The French Minister of Fisheries, Annick Girardin, had asked the committee to set a deadline and Mr Sinkevicius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, complied yesterday.

However, French efforts to bolster support for its position suffered a setback after Belgium rejected its claim for support.

High-level sources said Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Croo and Foreign Minister Sophie Willems had rejected Paris’ call for sanctions against the United Kingdom.

They said the French were not delusional that the dispute over access to waters near Britain and the Channel Islands was a “bilateral issue” for the negotiating table.

French President Emmanuel Macron was humiliated after Belgium rejected his overtures to support Paris in its dispute with Britain.

French President Emmanuel Macron was humiliated after Belgium rejected his overtures to support Paris in its dispute with Britain.

“There is little appetite for a trade war because of this,” the source said. This is not our fight. We still want to resolve the outstanding issues through dialogue with the UK.

Disdain for Belgium is Macron’s latest embarrassment ahead of the presidential election in April.

A senior EU diplomat said: “It is quite clear that France is trying to exploit this conflict for internal political purposes.”

Another EU source, who works closely on Brexit issues, said most governments wanted to avoid being drawn into the row.

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