France and UK 'could have deal outside of EU' says expert
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President of Generation Frexit, Charles-Henri Gallois, argued the row between the UK and France regarding fishing licences could be resolved bilaterally if France voted to leave the European Union. Jersey fishermen have argued bilateral talks involving their French counterparts have been “crushed” by the European Commission who insist on being involved in any agreement involving fishing licences. Mr Gallois stated the issue could be quickly resolved if France left the EU and could fix tensions between the countries.
From January 1, French boats have had to prove they historically operated in UK waters to be allowed licences to fish there as part of the post-Brexit agreement.
But administration issues have arisen from the deal as many French boats do not have the required documentation to prove they have operated in the waters, nor do French authorities.
As a result, a large portion of French boats have been denied access to UK waters to fish with only 12 of 47 boats being granted licences last month.
Jersey also rejected 75 out of 170 applications, furthering tensions.
Mr Gallois appeared on TalkRADIO and argued if France was out of the EU then the two countries could come up with an agreement that works for both of them.
He explained: “On the fishing part, if we were out of the EU we could have a bilateral talk between the UK and France and the deal could be much better.
“The current behaviour, whether its by Macron, it’s irresponsible because you cannot threaten a country’s electricity or food supply.
Jersey fisherman says the ‘situation here is really difficult’
“And it’s been counterproductive for French business because many French businesses have interests in the UK.”
In May, French fishers blockaded the waters around St Helier after new rules preventing them from fishing in the waters unless they historically operated there came into place.
French fishers claim they were not consulted on the change and attacked both Jersey and French Governments for not resolving the administrative tasks quickly enough.
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An amnesty was granted until September to allow boats to submit their applications but 75 applications were denied.
President of the Jersey Fishermen’s Association, Don Thompson, told Express.co.uk the European Commission “crushed” negotiations with French counterparts as all talks were required to go through them as part of the EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
Mr Thompson also believed France deliberately sent over bogus applications to the UK Government knowing they would be rejected to capitalise on the political fallout.
He explained most of the applications would easily be rejected but France wanted to send them to see if any could be approved on the off-chance and to make the UK look bad when they reject them.
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