France to retaliate if Britain does not enforce fishing deal

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France will impose retaliatory measures against the United Kingdom if it does not enforce a post-Brexit fishing agreement, the country’s secretary of state for European Affairs warned Tuesday.

“This is a good agreement on fishing. If the UK does not enforce it, we will respond with retaliatory measures. A good deal is only good if it is well applied,” Clement Beaune said in an interview with BFM Business news.

He added that the UK was expecting a number of financial services authorizations from Europe which will not be given until it respects the commitments and provides guarantees on fishing and other subjects.

“It’s give-and-take. Everyone must respect their commitments. Otherwise, we will be as brutal and difficult as necessary as partners,” he said.

The UK reached an agreement on post-Brexit trade with the European Union called the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) in December. The agreement has provisionally been in effect since January and was expected to be ratified following a final vote in the European Parliament on Tuesday.

France has claimed, despite the provisional accord, since January that the UK had blocked access for French fishermen to fish between six and 12 nautical miles from the British coast. As against the agreement, the UK has granted licenses to only 22 of the 120 French boats.

At Boulogne-sur-Mer, one of the major fishing centers, the fishing community launched a protest movement last week by blocking trucks bringing the catch from Britain.

Beaune and Maritime Minister Annick Girardin assured the community that the situation will be resolved quickly with full access for licenses into British waters. On Monday, the two ministers held discussions with the fishing community in Boulogne and announced aid of 100 million euros as part of a support plan for the post-Brexit fishing industry, approved by the EU.

In a tweet, Beaune said the French government is committed to ensuring the full implementation of the post-Brexit agreement, saying: “We’ll not let go.”

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