French politician: fishermen could block Channel tunnel in Brexit permit dispute


PARIS (Reuters) – French fishermen could block the Channel tunnel connecting France and the United Kingdom in protest against the allocation of post-Brexit fishing licenses, French MP Jean-Pierre Pont warned on Wednesday.

“Be warned,” said Pont, who is a member of parliament for President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling party La République en Marche, representing the coastal town of Boulogne-sur-Mer.

“Since the British refuse to honor what they signed, like other Anglo-Saxons in another region, the French fishermen of Boulogne-sur-Mer could be forced, after 9 months of unnecessary patience, to consider means of retaliating against the United Kingdom. – for example by blocking ports or lorries entering the UK through the tunnel, ”added Pont.

France accused Britain on Wednesday of playing politics with post-Brexit fishing rights, after London granted fishing licenses in its territorial waters to just 12 small French boats out of 47 applications. [nL8N2QV1BM]

Fishing rights have been one of the main battlegrounds between Britain and France in their post-Brexit negotiations. Earlier this year, a licensing dispute led France and Britain to send patrol boats off the coast of Jersey, which is an autonomous dependency of the British Crown.

Diplomatic relations between France and the UK have hit a low point in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on France to regain control and give its allies in the United States and Australia a break following a row over a trilateral deal on nuclear submarines which tore up a separate French contract.

(Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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