The country’s Sea Minister Annick Girardin today said that Boris Johnson’s Government had until the end of October to give Emmanuel Macron’s Republic “guarantees”. France will “not accept” a solution that goes beyond that date – giving the UK just five days to resolve the issue, according to Ms Giardin.
“My message is clear: we want guarantees from the British before the end of October. #IWantMyLicensesBack.”
Earlier she said: “France wants visibility for its fishermen.
“That is to say, I want answers before the end of the month.
So far London and Jersey have granted just over 200 licences, short of the 224 that Paris is demanding.
Scallop fishermen claim to have been badly affected by the UK’s withdrawal agreement – culminating with the Royal Navy being dispatched to Jersey after dozens of French fishing boats blockaded the island’s main port of St Helier earlier this year.
Touching on these ongoing talks, she said: “In the context of discussions between France, the @EU_Commission and the United Kingdom to obtain fishing licences under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, and as has been the case regularly for several months, I met with the fishing industry this morning.
“We are one week away from the deadline set by France for the UK to obtain answers.
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“I want to give clear visibility to fishermen and remind them that the @governmentFR is at their side. #IWantMyLicensesBack #Brexit.”
And should the demands not be met, France is preparing to announce retaliatory measures against the UK, according to a Government source.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex, who already asked his Government to consider possible retaliatory measures at the beginning of October, is expected to make a decision on this explosive issue shortly.
A French diplomatic source said: “There is no longer any doubt that there will be measures (sanctions).
“The British have resumed negotiations and have released some additional licences.
“But we’re not at all on track. We are not at all satisfied.”
They also pleaded for “concrete, proportionate and reversible” retaliatory measures should they be introduced.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega