Lord Frost vows to disrupt ALL EU fishing activity in British waters if France goes ahead with its threat to ban UK boats from French ports as he warns Paris it is on course to breach the Brexit deal
Lord Frost today warned Brussels that Britain will carry out ‘rigorous checks’ on all EU fishing boats in UK waters if France goes through with threats to block British vessels from French ports.
A rumbling row over post-Brexit fishing licences escalated this week as Paris threatened action if the UK does not grant permission to more French boats to work in British waters.
French ministers have said they could block British boats from ports and tighten checks on vessels if the UK does not give in by Tuesday next week.
But the fishing row was also brought up as Lord Frost set out his ‘concerns about the unjustified measures’ threatened by France.
Lord Frost today warned Brussels that Britain will carry out ‘rigorous checks’ on all EU fishing boats in UK waters if France goes through with threats to block British vessels from French ports
Lord Frost, the Government’s Brexit chief, met with his EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic in London today for talks on improving the Northern Ireland Protocol
The minister said if France goes ahead with its plans then the EU would be in breach of the Brexit deal and the UK would retaliate by rolling out tougher enforcement action in British waters.
The UK would also look to trigger formal ‘dispute settlement proceedings’ against the bloc.
A UK Government spokesman said after the meeting: ‘Lord Frost also set out to the Vice President our concerns about the unjustified measures announced by France earlier this week to disrupt UK fisheries and wider trade, to threaten energy supplies, and to block further cooperation between the UK and the EU, for example on the Horizon research programme.
‘Lord Frost made clear that, if these actions were implemented as planned on 2 November, they would put the European Union in breach of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).
‘The Government is accordingly considering the possibility, in those circumstances, of launching dispute settlement proceedings under the TCA, and of other practical responses, including implementing rigorous enforcement processes and checks on EU fishing activity in UK territorial waters, within the terms of the TCA.’
A rumbling row over post-Brexit fishing licences escalated this week as Paris threatened action if the UK does not grant permission to more French boats to work in British waters
A European Commission spokesman said after the meeting: ‘The Vice President encouraged the UK to intensify discussions with the European Commission and France in order to swiftly resolve the issue of pending fishing licences. All French vessels entitled to a licence should receive one.’
The focus of today’s meeting was on negotiations relating to improving post-Brexit border rules in Northern Ireland.
The UK said this week’s talks on the protocol had been ‘conducted in a constructive spirit’ but the ‘gaps between us remain substantial’ and more talks will take place in Brussels next week.