Western Europe

French fishermen to block port of Calais and tunnel under English Channel

17:28, 26 November 2021
French fishermen to block port of Calais and tunnel under English Channel

French fishermen will block the port of Calais and the Channel Tunnel on Friday in protest at the post-Brexit fishing rights granted by the British government.

According to the National Committee for Fisheries (CNPMEM), the protestors will block the arrival of British ferries at sea at three ports: Calais, Ouistreham, and Saint-Malo. In addition, the fishermen will prevent trucks from entering the cargo terminal of the Channel Tunnel for several hours.

The Fisheries Committee does not rule out new actions and says that the fishermen want to respond to the "provocative" and "humiliating" attitude towards them from Britain.

After the secession from the European Union, the United Kingdom regains full control over its territorial waters including the English Channel and the North Sea.

The French fishermen have lost the opportunity to fish freely and must obtain a special license to establish their activities in the British waters.

The UK has promised to issue licenses to authorize the fishery in the area. However, France said that the British authorities are failing to implement the new rules. 

The French Maritime Ministry said that France has received more than 960 licenses, only 150 haven't been approved. Britain reported that they issued 98 percent of the requested licenses.

In addition, countries argue over the nature and extent of the supporting documents to be provided.

The dispute triggered the diplomatic scandal, Paris banned access to French ports for British ships and systematization of customs control over British imports. On Wednesday, the European Commission urged London to settle this dispute by December 10th.

France’s Minister of Interior Gérald Darmanin canceled on Friday a meeting on the migrant issue with British Home Secretary Priti Patel over the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson letter to French President Emmanuel Macron in which Jonhson suggested that France take back illegal migrants trying to cross the English Channel to reach the UK.

Emmanuel Macron also criticized Boris Johnson for holding communication on the migrant issue via Twitter and public letters.