Brexit: France accuses Jersey of ‘non-willingness to cooperate’ over fishing licence row

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France has slammed the Channel Island of Jersey amid an ongoing post-Brexit row over fishing licences.

Annick Girardin, the country’s sea minister, said it had shown a lack of willingness to cooperate on the controversial issue.

“It is definitely obvious that Jersey does not respect the Brexit agreement, worse, it shows a non-willingness to cooperate with us,” she said.

Girardin added that 46 applications for authorisation were still unanswered and that 52 licences had expired on 31 October, “including 13 priority ones, depriving these fishermen of access to Jersey waters”.

The minister also said she was preparing a plan to compensate French fishermen who would not obtain a licence.

“Without prejudging the outcome of negotiations, I asked the Fisheries Department to provide, in consultation with professionals, an estimate of fleet exit plans that I could finance,” she told a fishing conference in Brittany.

She added that “an envelope of €40 to 60 million” could “be put on the table.”

Under the Brexit deal, European fishermen can continue to work in certain British waters provided they can prove that they previously fished there for a minimum number of days over several years.

France has accused the UK of breaking its commitments under the agreement by not giving sufficient licenses to its fishermen seeking access to Crown dependencies Jersey and Guernsey.

But London says it still has insufficient proof some of the fishermen have historical rights to go there.

Despite several high-level bilateral meetings as well as the involvement of Brussels, negotiations remain in an impasse.

The dispute over fisheries is taking place in a wider context of deterioration in Franco-British relations and post-Brexit tensions between London and Brussels.

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