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FISHING

Angry French fishermen threaten British imports

Fishermen in northern France have threatened to disrupt British imports in a bid to increase pressure on London to grant them more licences for UK waters.

fishing boat France
Angry French fishermen threaten British imports. Photo: Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP

Britain agreed to issue another 23 licences to French fishermen on Saturday, a step aimed at easing tensions between the neighbours who have been at loggerheads over the issue for the last six months.

But France believes it is entitled to around 80 more UK licences and a group representing fishermen in the key port of Boulogne-sur-Mer and others along the northern coast said late Saturday that they would launch protests.

READ ALSO – EXPLAINED: Why are France and the UK fighting about fish?

“Protests should be expected … protests that will target British imports,” the local CRPMEM fishing industry group for the Hauts-de-France region said in a statement sent to AFP.

The group said its members were “exasperated” by the news of only 23 new licences and felt “betrayed” by the European Commission, which could launch legal action against Britain over the issue.

The CRPMEM said the protests would be “in line with blockades of ports in Brittany, Normandy and the north of France which took place on November 26th”.

Fishing boats briefly blocked ferries and other boats in Calais, Saint-Malo and Ouistreham on that day, while vehicles were also sent to disrupt traffic seeking to use the Channel Tunnel rail link.

France and Britain have clashed repeatedly this year over fishing as well as migrants crossing the Channel, post-Brexit trade arrangements and the sale of submarines to Australia.

London briefly deployed two gunboats in May when dozens of French trawlers massed off the Channel Island of Jersey to protest the licensing problems, prompting France to send two coastal patrol vessels.

Member comments

  1. This is all because of a bad agreement. If people think things are bad now, wait until the euro quota is reduced by 50%
    The EU have not done any planning to reduce the size of the EU fishing fleet.
    It is their inactivity that has been partly responsible for this crisis. Why have they not done more to help small boats with their paperwork ? – no instead they have chosen to whine and moan.
    I feel sorry for those who have not got licences, but this is only going to get worse as the UK will now decide who gets to fish and who will have to find other work, as they will decide who gets licences in the future
    They talk about taking the UK to court – but all the UK has to do is provide examples of why licences were refused – the EU know they will no win
    The EU does not care about fishing – hence no reprisals as yet
    The French are having to take things in their own hands as the rest of the EU will not support them
    The whole thing is a farce – the current trade agreement is poor and will lead to a trade war – it benefits neither the UK or the EU – time to start again and create an agreement of cooperation and not one of adversity

    1. Not everything is as it appears. The leader of the last Fishing protest a couple of weeks ago had apparently sold his boat , along with a UK licence, bought a new unlicenced boat and was now insisting that he as skipper was licensed due to his personal fishing history in British waters. I trust he didn’t get one but that claim must still have passed muster with the French authorities , if not the UK and EU.

      1. Alan, I am sorry your glass is still half empty, but please look at the agreement that the uk signed. The uk people were lied to. All France is asking for is what they and the uk signed up to – remember that, when Boris hailed it as a great deal? Well, maybe not in reality.

        1. If you read the annex to the T&C agreement you’ll see that UK is following the agreement and French demands are outside that agreement and that is why the EU is so quiet on the subject. You’ll also notice that despite all the bluff and bluster the French have never backed up a complaint regarding a single licence by showing an application and supporting evidence that was then rejected. I’m sorry that you’re so gullible but there we are.

          1. I would with respect ask you to read it again and then see who is gullible. The uk are playing games with this agreement.

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BREXIT

‘Ashamed, embarrassed, disappointed’ – How Brits in the EU feel about the UK

A new in-depth survey on British nationals living in the EU has revealed the impact that Brexit has had upon their lives, and their attitudes to their country of origin.

'Ashamed, embarrassed, disappointed' - How Brits in the EU feel about the UK

The study, conducted by academics at Lancaster and Birmingham universities, provides a snapshot of how Brits in the EU live – their age, family, work and education – and how they feel about the UK in the six years since the Brexit vote.

Unsurprisingly, it revealed that Brexit has had a major practical impact on the lives of Brits living in the EU – who are now subject to third-country rules and require residency cards or visas and face restrictions on voting and onward movement within the EU.

But the survey’s 1,328 respondents were also asked about their emotions towards the country of their birth.

Eighty percent of respondents said it had changed their feelings towards the UK.

A British woman living in Norway said she felt: “Deep, deep shame. Embarrassed to be British, ashamed that I didn’t try hard enough, or appreciate my EU citizenship.”

“Since Brexit I am disappointed in the UK. I am worried, and no longer feel like I have the same affinity for the country. It’s a shame because I love ‘home’ but the country feels so polarised,” added a British woman in her 30s living in Denmark.

An Austrian resident with dual British-Irish nationality said: “I feel disconnected, like it’s a completely different country from how I left it.

“So much so I feel more connected with my second nationality (Irish) despite the fact I never grew up in Ireland. It’s embarrassing what’s happened in the UK and what continues to happen. It’s like watching a house on fire from afar.”

The experience of living abroad during the pandemic also affected people’s feelings towards the UK, with 43 percent of people saying the UK’s handling of the Covid crisis affected their feelings towards the county.

A British woman in her 50s living in Spain said: “It was shambolic. Too late, too little, mixed messaging, lack of seriousness. So many deaths after what should have been a head start.”

A British man living in Greece described it simply as “a shit show”.

In addition to the Brexit effect, the survey also provided interesting and detailed data on the lives and profiles of Brits who live in the EU;

  • 69 percent had degree-level education
  • 77 percent worked in a professional or managerial role
  • 53 percent are of working age
  • 59 percent have been living in their country of residence for more than five years
  • 78 percent said it was very unlikely that they would move countries in the next five years 
  • The most common reasons for moving country were retirement (40 percent), family reasons (35 percent) and work (30 percent)

Almost all respondents said that Brexit had impacted their lives, with the loss of freedom of movement being the most common effect mentioned.

One man said: “My original plan (pre-2016) was to move to France on retirement, due in 2026. Brexit caused me to move sooner, in order to retain my European citizenship rights. The pandemic helped (indirectly) in that I got locked down in France in 2020, which enabled me to earn residence under the pre-Brexit rules. I had been talking to my employer about doing something similar before the pandemic broke.”

“I moved to France in 2020 in order to protect my right to live and work in France post-Brexit. My migration is 100 percent a result of Brexit,” said one American-British dual national.

Other respondents talked about the post-Brexit admin necessary to gain residency status in their country, financial losses due to the weakening of the pound against the euro and the loss on onward freedom of movement – meaning that Brits resident in one EU country no longer have the right to move to another.

The report also highlighted that only 60 percent of respondents had changed their legal status by security residency since Brexit.

For some Brits in the EU this is not necessary if they already have citizenship of their country of residence (or another EU country such as Ireland) but the report’s author highlighted that: “It may also offer an early indicator that within this population there are some who may find themselves without legal residence status, with consequences in the future for their right to residence, and access to healthcare, welfare and work (among other services).”

READ ALSO What to do if you have missed the Brexit deadline in France 

In total 42 percent of respondents were completely disenfranchised – the 15-year rule means they can no longer vote in the UK, while the loss of EU citizenship means that they cannot vote in European or local elections in their country of residence.

The British government has recently announced the ending of the 15-year rule, giving voting rights to all UK nationals, no matter how long they live outside the UK. 

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