French fisherman warns of 'never-ending war' with Jersey
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Fearing a political backlash in member states, Brussels can no longer agree to give a guarantee of future membership to the six Balkan countries once promised a place in the club. These include North Macedonia, Serbia, Albania and Montenegro.
Bloc diplomats said there has been an impasse over a declaration for a summit of EU and Balkan leaders on October 6.
At the summit, the EU had planned to restate its promise made 18 years ago to give “its unequivocal support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans.”
But wealthy northern countries such as Denmark, France and the Netherlands fear a repeat of the rushed accession of Romania and Bulgaria in 2007 and the poorly managed migration of eastern European workers to Britain that turned many Britos against EU membership.
This is also coupled with tensions over Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence and a language dispute between North Macedonia and Bulgaria.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen began a three-day trip to the six Balkan countries yesterday to show the EU executive’s commitment to the region.
Meanwhile, Jersey fishermen are voicing concerns at repeated delays to post-Brexit arrangements for fishing rights, as the latest deadline looms for EU access to waters around the British Crown dependency.
Jersey, home to more than 100,000 people, is the largest of the Channel Islands, and on a clear day, lies within sight of the French coast.
France has asked the government to issue 169 fishing licences to its vessels but they must prove they fished in Channel Island waters before Brexit and many are struggling to do so.
Don Thompson, president of the Jersey Fishermen’s Association said if all 169 French vessels are licensed, that would far outnumber the local fleet, claiming that only around 70 of them had previously fished in the area.
He added: “(It) was a chance to rebalance, to see some sort of equilibrium between the size of the Jersey fleet and the number of foreign boats working in our waters.”
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Brexit fishing row explodes as France threaten action
The French government has reacted with fury after just 12 fishing licences for small boats to operate in UK waters were granted out of 47 applications.
The UK was accused of taking French fishing “hostage” and warned of “retaliatory action” following the decision.
The prospect of a new cross-channel fishing war came after the UK issued licences based on evidence of a boat’s track record of fishing in its territorial waters, in line with the Brexit deal.
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