More than 5,000 French fishermen are planning to blockade the Channel Tunnel linking France and Britain and protest against Britain’s decision to sign away their fishing rights, the Guardian reports. A French political party has called for a general strike on May 16 and 18 to protest the agreement.
The fishermen are objecting to Britain’s withdrawal from the European Common Fisheries Policy, under which Britain traditionally enjoyed more fish in the seas to the south of the channel compared to France, while French fishermen work alongside British fishermen in the same waters. Meanwhile, the European Commission has worked out a compromise that sees Britain retain overall control of fishing rights within 12 miles of the coast, which concerns the French. In return, the French Parliament is said to be prepared to give a guarantee that they will retain their fishing grounds once Britain leaves the E.U.
Chalermuche, a village in Normandy, is set to be one of the main ports hit by the protests, although Calais is expected to still receive shipments. Such a blockade could delay at least 40 million items worth of trade and affect long-haul flights heading to Britain.
French politicians and labor unions are currently in a showdown over the terms on which Britain will remain in the European single market. They are concerned that Britain has agreed a framework for Brexit negotiations — which could delay the talks until 2019 — that could mean it treats the E.U. as a second-class trading partner, letting it negotiate trade deals that will disadvantage French producers.
Moves to improve fishing rights for British fishermen will be debated in parliament in the coming days, the Times reports.
Read the full story at The Guardian.
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Gorgeous view over the Channel from Mont Ventoux