France to Announce Sanctions Amid Fishing Dispute With UK

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
October 20, 2021 Updated: October 21, 2021

PARIS—France will announce potential sanctions over energy prices and trade “by the end of the week” in its fishing dispute with the United Kingdom, the government spokesman said Wednesday.

France vehemently protested the decision last month by the UK and the Channel Island of Jersey to refuse dozens of French fishing boats a license to operate in their territorial waters. Paris called the move “unacceptable.”

France considers the restrictions as contrary to the post-Brexit agreement that the British government signed when it left the European Union.

“We are obviously in a position to take sanctions if the agreement is not respected,” French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said. “There are several types of sanctions that are possible: energy prices, access to [French] ports, tariffs issues.”

Fishing vessels in Jersey
Fishing vessels are seen at sea off the coast of Jersey, on May 6, 2021. (Oliver Pinel via AP)

Jersey, which is only 14 miles (22 kilometers) off the French coast, is a British Crown dependency outside of the UK. As such, it has its own powers with regard to who is allowed to fish in its territorial waters.

Attal said the sanctions would take effect in November if no deal is reached with the UK and Jersey.

France has asked its European Union partners to act as one in the dispute, urging the 27-nation bloc to prepare retaliation measures.

A top French official declined Wednesday to say whether French President Emmanuel Macron will discuss the issue with his counterparts at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. He spoke anonymously in accordance with the French presidency’s customary practices.

Earlier this month, France and 10 other EU nations issued a joint declaration denouncing UK’s attitude over fishing licenses.

By Sylvie Corbet