EU says fishing dispute between France and UK will soon be resolved

In an interview on Sunday, the EU’s Fisheries Commissioner said the fisheries row between France and Britain over Brexit was almost resolved after months of negotiations.

“We have been able to get most of the licenses offered by ‘French fishing boat owners who want to work in British waters, with only 70 licenses pending’,” Commissioner Virginius Sinkevicius told the Financial Times.

Sinkevicius said the commission, which supported France in the conflict, “fully intends to continue to have a constructive and successful relationship with the United Kingdom”.

In contact with AFP, the European Commission did not want to confirm the information at the time, nor did it give further details.

As part of a Brexit deal for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union two years ago, the British agreed to allow French fishing boats to continue operating in British waters and on the Channel Islands.

Although the UK issued 1,700 fishing licenses to fishing vessels from EU countries to operate in waters between 12 and 200 nautical miles, it imposed what France called an impractical load test for French vessels wishing to fish in an area rich with schools of fish located between 6 and 12 nautical miles.

An order for 150 fishing boats in the UK and the island of Jersey was initially denied.

While French fishermen threatened to close the country’s ports and the canal tunnel between the UK and the mainland if more licenses were not secured, the Commission offered its legal services to France.

The conflict faded from public debate this year as Sinkevicius conducted negotiations for the United Kingdom to grant more licenses.

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Sacha Woodward

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