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France to Britain: You have until November 1 to grant fishing fleet more licenses or face retaliation

Christian Fernsby |
France has threatened to light a fire under the fishing cold war, giving Britain less than a fortnight to give its trawlers access to rich UK waters or face punitive action.

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Paris's maritime minister Annick Girardin has told the European Union that Boris Johnson's Government has until November 1 to reverse the post Brexit tightening of access.

France has tacitly threatened to throttle cross Channel power supplies, as well as electricity for the Channel Islands, which have also restricted access to French boats.

French boats were free to fish in the sixto 12 mile zone when the UK was in the EU, but now have to prove that they previously did so. France says they should keep the same level of access, accusing Britain of breaching the Brexit trade deal.

Ms Giradin is said to have set the deadline in a meeting with Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission vice president leading post Brexit trade talks, and Virginijus Sinkevicius, the commissioner responsible for fisheries.

She told them she was 'preparing, with her colleagues from other ministries, response measures that France can implement from Nov 1, if necessary', a source told the Telegraph.

Paris was infuriated when Jersey only granted licences to 12 small French boats out of 47 applications this summer saying they had failed to provide evidence they were entitled.

France also says it asked for 450 fishing licences for UK waters but had only received 275.

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