French fishing crews mounted “symbolic” protests on the Channel tunnel and three ports in northern France in a day of motion towards the British authorities over the continuing dispute about entry of French boats within the Channel.
The fishers lit pink flares as they began their protest on Friday on the port of Saint-Malo earlier than transferring on to Calais and the Channel tunnel within the afternoon.
Half a dozen fishing vessels blocked entry to Calais port, the principle gateway to Europe from the UK, in a 90-minute protest, with related protests mounted within the port of Ouistreham and entry roads to the Channel tunnel.
“We wish our licences again,” learn an English-language banner brandished on one of many boats, the Marmouset II.
Friday’s blockades didn’t carry site visitors to a halt however have been designed as “a warning shot” towards the British, mentioned Olivier Lepretre, the president of the regional fishing committee in Calais.
He added that it was “a symbolic motion” but when the dispute over what they are saying is the UK’s failure to difficulty the French their full complement of fishing licences continues, they may escalate their actions and “present extra tooth”.
He mentioned: “The British have entry to the European market, whereas we don’t have entry to British waters. This isn’t regular, the British authorities should respect the settlement.”
The protests have been mounted as an indication of what the fishers mentioned was the contemptuous and humiliating method of the UK since Brexit.
Gérard Romiti, the president of the nationwide maritime fisheries committee, instructed reporters that every one they needed was the honouring of the commerce and cooperation deal sealed on Christmas Eve final yr.
He described the demonstration as professional and mentioned it aimed to forestall “British unhealthy religion” from prevailing within the fishing dispute and in different issues.
“We wish the settlement signed on 24 December 2020 to be revered,” Romiti mentioned. “We don’t need handouts, we simply need our licences again. The UK should abide by the post-Brexit deal. Too many fishermen are nonetheless at nighttime.
“We now have been ready with bated breath for 11 months. The endurance of pros has limits. We hope this warning shot will probably be heard,” he mentioned, refusing to rule out additional actions sooner or later.
Romiti mentioned the dispute ought to be seen within the wider context of the UK’s strained relationship with the EU and France on a variety of points together with Northern Eire and the people-trafficking disaster within the Channel.
“If the query of the licences could seem minor on the European degree to some, it’s a part of a a lot greater image,” he mentioned. “The long-term relationship with the UK depend upon the decision of this difficulty.”
The dispute broke out after Britain left the EU, with Paris claiming London just isn’t respecting the post-Brexit preparations agreed on Christmas Eve.
The EU has mentioned it needs the dispute resolved by 10 December.