Brexit: Jersey 'can't take much more' says fisherman
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On Monday, 10 EU states agreed to back France in signing a joint declaration criticising the UK’s approach to post-Brexit fishing licences. The move was decided at a meeting of EU farming and fisheries ministers in Luxembourg.
The statement read: “We call on the United Kingdom to provide a response as soon as possible and to engage in further technical work in accordance with the spirit and the letter of the Agreement.”
The document showed that Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands backed the French document.
Denmark, Malta, Lithuania and Latvia also gave their support, according to EU diplomats present at the meeting.
The document, however, was only signed after it was drastically changed from the original draft presented by France.
The French version said the UK’s response was a “clear failure” to comply with the Brexit deal. It criticised the “unsatisfactory” and “contradictory” response from Britain.
The much harsher note was watered down at the meeting in Luxembourg before the 10 EU countries decided to join France in its fight.
But as 16 member states refused to sign the agreement, Francois Asselineau, leader of the UPR, raged against how so-called ‘EU solidarity’ fails to look after France’s best interests.
He blasted: “In the ‘fishing war’, Macron wanted the 27 EU states to back him up to violently rebuke the British PM for ‘a blatant failure to comply with the Brexit trade deal’.
“No state followed him!
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“Of the 27 states, 16 have simply refused to sign anything in support of France (including all the eastern countries…)
“10 agreed to sign a declaration with France, but watered it down completely compared to the initial slogan.
“These 10 states are all countries with a coastline on the North Sea, English Channel, Atlantic or Mediterranean, with the exception of those that refused to sign.
“All the countries bordering the Black Sea or the Baltic, have refused to sign, except for Sweden.
“This confirms that, 64 years after the Treaty of Rome, 29 years after the Maastricht Treaty, 16 years after the enlargement to the East, European solidarity remains a chimera.
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“In reality, 16 out of 27 states do not want to get angry with the UK in order to support French national interests.
“The remaining 10 states only agreed to sign a declaration because they themselves have fishermen.
“And on the formal condition to remove from the text prepared by France all the aggressive passages and immature stammering of Macron and Beaune.
“This ‘Agri-Fisheries Council’ shows that the so-called ‘European solidarity’ not only does not help us, but is detrimental to the optimal defence of the legitimate interests of our fishermen.
“Because we have to make compromises at 27 before we can even negotiate with the UK.”
Last week, France issued an ultimatum to the UK over fishing rights.
Annick Girardin, French Minister of the Sea, met with French MPs and MEPs in Brussels to discuss further how to counteract the UK’s decision to deny post-Brexit fishing licences to French fishermen.
France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune also said it would “take European or national measures to exert pressure on the UK” after Paris became riled by a series of application rejections to fish in British waters.
French fury was sparked after the Government in London announced last month that it had approved just 12 of the 47 applications it had received from French small boats.
That anger was further stoked in a later announcement by the Jersey Government that, of 170 licence applications it had received from French boats, 75 had been rejected.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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