France v. UK - Macron’s phony ‘Cod-Piece War’

If France were in the right, the EU would be backing France. It isn’t.

Montage © Facts4EU.Org 2021

Revealed: How the UK has bent over backwards for Macron – yet still he wants more

There can be no question in any reasonable person’s mind, once given sight of the evidence, that France is pursuing a vindictive and hostile policy against the United Kingdom for President Macron’s own domestic political ends.

Below Facts4EU.Org publishes important new parts of this evidence for the first time. The sheer extent of the UK’s appeasement of the apparently unappeasable French will shock many readers.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

Facts4EU.Org publishes the sheer extent of the UK’s appeasement of the French

The evidence which blows Macron’s anti-British fishing trip out of the water

  1. UK has granted more licences to French fishing boats than to all other continental EU boats combined
  2. UK has bent over backwards to let French fishermen give almost any indication they once fished in UK waters
  3. UK has extended the deadline for French fishermen to get licences twice and now it’s open-ended

1. France has been given more UK fishing licences than all continental EU countries combined

The UK has granted more fishing licences to French boats than to any other EU country. In fact, France has been issued with more UK licences than all other continental EU countries COMBINED.

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge

[Source: The UK Single Issuing Authority: the UK Marine Management Organisation.]

Note: The above figures do not even include licences issued by Jersey and Guernsey to the French or other EU countries, as these are counted separately. Also please note that we have excluded Ireland as it is not part of the continental EU. For the record, Ireland has less than half the number of UK licences as France.

2. The unbelievably-low level of qualification the UK is asking for, to grant a licence to EU boats

The basic principle which was agreed between the UK and the EU in the Withdrawal and Trade negotiations was that EU fishing boats would be issued with UK fishing licences if they had fished in UK waters in four out of the five years leading up to 2016, when the British public voted to leave the EU.

The French are mostly arguing about a tiny number of small boats – now only 15 – which want licences to fish up to six nautical miles from the UK coast. Below Facts4EU.Org shows just how lenient the UK authorities have become, bending over backwards to give licences to French boats on what is now the flimsiest of evidence that they once fished there.

© Crown

Positional and catch data

There are two basic requirements – the ability to prove you once fished in UK waters, and the ability to provide sales evidence of just one day’s catch in each of four out of the five years. Below is the steady lessening in the levels of proof now required of the French.

  1. For vessels equipped with vessel monitoring systems (VMS) this must be provided showing fishing activity within the relevant zone in all four years.
  2. <12 metres long, with no VMS but with an automatic identification system (AIS), must provide AIS data.
  3. <12 metres long, with no VMS or AIS, must provide chartplotter data demonstrating the date/position/speed.
  4. Official sightings data (eg French Customs) of fishing activity will also be considered.
  5. The above proofs only need to cover two out of the required four years.
  6. French boats unable to provide any of the basic information above may provide alternative evidence of fishing activity within the relevant area for up to two out of the four years, including data from other EU boats.
  7. And to cap it all, if some of the above evidence conflicts, the evidence which grants a licence will be used, even if it is contradicted by the other evidence.

3. The continual extension of deadlines for the French to provide something – anything – to back their claims

The rules all changed 10 months ago on 01 January 2021, when the UK (except Northern Ireland) formally left the EU.

The deadline to provide information to obtain licences was extended from three months to six months and is currently indefinite. Both the Marine Management Organisation which is the UKSIA (Single Issuing Authority), and the UK Government, have said that they will continue to consider all new evidence provided by the French authorities.

It is worth observing that of the figure of 47 licences which is repeatedly quoted in the press, 17 have now been withdrawn by the French. At least 15 of the remaining 30 contentious licences had already been issued and we believe that several more have now been accepted.


La plume de ma tante

Short of the UK authorities accepting a phone call from a maiden aunt in Boulogne saying she was sure that her favourite nephew Jean-Francois had once mentioned catching a fish not far from Angleterre, it is hard to see how the UK authorities could be more lenient with the French.

It is starting to look as if every French Tom, Dick and Haricot Vert who claims he has a right to British fish will be granted a licence. And let’s be clear, these licences and the boats they are attached to can be sold to any EU company that wants to fish in UK waters.

Why isn’t the EU backing the French?

Any cursory look at the behaviours and actions of the EU in the five-and-a-half years since the British people voted to leave the European Union will demonstrate that if the EU gets a chance to attack Brexit Britain, it will. Facts4EU.Org has documented and published all of this on an almost daily basis for years.

Fishing rights are enshrined in the Withdrawal Agreement Treaty and the Trade and Co-operation Treaty between the EU and the UK, and in some side agreements since. If the UK is breaking the rules it is the EU which would be acting, not one member country – in this case Macron’s France.

At the latest EU Summit the French government tried desperately hard to persuade the other EU member countries to adopt an EU stance condemning the UK over fishing rights and taking action against the UK. The EU Council refused. It seems that even the EU could not find any evidence that the British government were acting in any way improperly.

Macron plumbs the depths in his ‘Cod-Piece War’

Now we have an increasingly belligerent French government threatening all manner of reprisals against the United Kingdom for alleged offences of which the UK is innocent. Perhaps the only guilt is in kowtowing and appeasing the French to an extent which Theresa May would have been proud of.

France remains one of the great European countries. It is deeply disappointing to see it descending to these depths in what can only be an attempt by President Macron to deflect attention away from his problems at home.

Many readers will remember the so-called ‘Cod Wars’ with Iceland some decades ago. In the case of President Macron and his equally diminutive Minister of European Affairs Clément Beaune, the current situation might better be described as ‘the Cod-Piece War’.

We very much hope that the core of more rational French politicians will speak up.

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[ Sources: UK Dept for the Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) | UK Marine Management Organisation | EU Council ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Fri 29 Oct 2021

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