France‘s fleets are prepared to hit the UK with further shortages in retaliation for the small number of fishing licences granted so far, fisherman Laurent Melin warned. Tensions have been on the rise for weeks after Paris lamented its fishermen were being curtailed from accessing richer British water by the lack of extensive post-Brexit licencing. Mr Melin told the Today programme he and his colleagues are ready to launch a severe attack on the UK until London caves to their demands.
The French fisherman said: “I live in a state of anxious anger. Checking my phone for news about my licence.
“We’ll create as much disruption as we can by blocking primary goods.
“The things the UK needs the most. We saw the gas shortage, we’ll try to create a shortage of something else.
“We’re ready to block everything – Calais, Dunkirk, the Eurotunnel.”
Gabriel Attal, a spokesman for the French Government, warned on Wednesday his country is preparing to retaliate if the UK does not issue further licenses to its fishermen.
Mr Attal said Paris is considering measures to take if the British Government were to show a “clear willingness” to ignore the terms of the Brexit deal.
The spokesman also confirmed France’s Maritime Minister Annick Girardin would be meeting with EU officials to ensure strong support from the bloc.
Ten EU nations signed a joint declaration with France demanding the UK abide by the Brexit agreement struck last December.
In the statement, the signatories lamented British demands for geolocation data from foreign vessels to prove historic links to British waters.
The ten nations insisted the term “is not provided for in the deal, and is not required by European regulations.”
They added: “We therefore call on the United Kingdom to promptly respond and undertake further technical work in accordance with… the agreement.”
Brexit Britain nears huge £2.3billion deal with New Zealand [REVEAL]
Brexiteer fury erupts at EU over ‘damaging’ deal [OPINION]
Cummings erupts at Remainer ‘clowns’ over EU deal [COMMENT]
The fishing row comes amid ongoing talks between the European Union and the British Government about the terms of the Northern Ireland protocol.
The European Commission has laid out measures to slash 80% of regulatory checks and dramatically cut customs processes on the movement of goods, especially food and farming produce, between Britain and the island of Ireland.
The Government welcomed the announcement on Wednesday night, signalling that it wants “intensive talks” to follow the EU’s proposals.
At the same time, however, a Government spokesman said there has to be “significant changes” to the Northern Ireland Protocol in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement if there is to be a “durable settlement”.