A French industry delegation has presented its grievances over the ongoing situation with the UK to Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius and Vice-President of the European Commission Maros Sefcovic.
France’s Minister of the Sea Annick Girardin, the President of the National Committee for Fisheries (CNPMEM) Gérard Romiti and the presidents of the regional fisheries committees of Hauts-de-France, Normandy and Brittany were all able to testify to the outcome of the implementation of the trade and cooperation agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
‘I came to make clear the exasperation of French fishermen in the face of the British attitude and I was able to observe French and European unity in willingness to support the sector,’ Gérard Romiti said after the meeting.
He commented that during this open exchange, the efforts made by France, the Commission and industry to try to meet the British demands were recognised and welcomed.
‘But we are tired of the bad faith shown by the United Kingdom in the implementation of the agreement and more particularly in the allocation of access to 6-12 mile fishing areas and the Channel Islands. It’s time to put an end to these pseudo-technical discussions,’ he said.
Addressing Commissioner Maros Sefcovic, he summed up the position of French industry – ‘It is now a matter of politicians raising their voices and initiating retaliatory measures so that no concessions are made to the English.’
Gérard Romiti said afterwards that while Vice-President Maros Sefkovic made reassuring noises, it appears that the Commission still favours the path of negotiation, since it has put forward a meeting with the United Kingdom this week.
For her part, Minister Annick Girardin reiterated her determination to not let go and to stay in contact with the member states which support her approach.
She stated that she is also preparing, with colleagues from other ministries, retaliatory measures that France can implement from 1st November, if necessary.
The French delegation met the Commissioner responsible for fisheries and the Vice-President of the European Commission. Images: CNPMEM