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Channel: French fishermen put an end to blockades of ports and Eurotunnel

Started in the morning with a blockade of the ports of Saint-Malo and then of Calais, the mobilization of French fishermen ended with the lifting of the blockages of the port of Ouistreham and the access of goods trucks to the freight terminal of the Channel Tunnel. Action to demand as quickly as possible the resolution of the difficulties surrounding post-Brexit fishing with the United Kingdom.

In front of the Eurotunnel, the dozens of vans and cars blocking the entry and exit of heavy goods vehicles left, as planned, around 4 p.m. Their action, lasting two hours, resulted in a major traffic jam of more than a hundred trucks. To “absorb the traffic” and “decongest the public highway”, additional train departures were subsequently scheduled, according to a Eurotunnel spokesperson.

“It’s a little bit of pressure on Europe. I am one of the privileged who had the license early enough, but my colleagues are not going to let themselves die, and we are not going to leave them in the dark, “testified Dominique Ramet, fisherman. “The State seems to be well aware of the problem, now it is up to Europe to make the English feel that well”, he added.

In Ouistreham, several trawlers also prevented a ferry from leaving the port in the early afternoon, while around forty fishermen demonstrated on land under a banner “We want our licenses back”. Heavy goods vehicles were also blocked at the entrance to the parking lot of the ferry terminal.

Around 7 a.m., at the foot of the ramparts of Saint-Malo

In the morning, fishermen began to block the entry and exit of ships coming from Great Britain in several French ports in the Channel, starting with Saint-Malo (Ille-et-Vilaine). According to West France, after raising their traps and unloading kilos of spider crabs, fishermen from Saint-Malo met around 7 am at the foot of the ramparts. They went to meet the freighter of the Normandy Trader, the company which transports goods between Jersey and Saint-Malo.

Around noon, two fishing boats from the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer had blocked the channel which provides access to the port of Calais, forcing a ferry from the Irish ferries company, which provides connections with the Grande -Brittany.

Since the blockade of the Channel Island of Jersey last May, fishermen have hoped to secure a settlement of post-Brexit fishing disputes with the United Kingdom and for France to show greater firmness. “The UK must respect the post-Brexit deal. Too many fishermen are still in the dark, ”Gérard Romiti, president of the national fisheries committee, said on Thursday at a press conference.

More than 960 licenses obtained by France

Under the Brexit agreement signed at the end of 2020 between London and Brussels, European fishermen can continue to work in British waters provided they can prove that they were fishing there before. But the French and the British are arguing over the nature and extent of the supporting documents to be provided, especially since in the spring, Jersey introduced additional rules.

In total, since January 1, 2021, France has obtained “more than 960 licenses” for fishing in British waters and the Channel Islands, but Paris is still asking for more than 150 authorizations, according to the French Ministry of the Sea. This situation is particularly dramatic for the fishermen who did not obtain the sesame, they show losses ranging from 20 to 50% of turnover.

Sunday, Emmanuel Macron reiterated his support for French fishermen and Wednesday the European Commission issued an “ultimatum” in London, asking that the dispute be settled by December 10.

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